Terry Flanagan fights abroad for the first time in New Orleans, the hometown of his opponent — unbeaten puncher Regis Prograis.
You might say he has it all to do against the top seed in the super-lightweight World Boxing Super Series.
And he has.
But that tells you what Flanagan is all about — a tough lad from Manchester reaching for the stars.
In a sense, he’s always been the underdog, unfashionable in a way so many prospects are that do not boast glittering Olympic resumes.
He achieved his world title dreams three years ago, beating Jose Zepeda for the WBO lightweight belt vacated by the great Terence Crawford.
Five stout defences followed before dropping a split decision in June to Maurice Hooker after stepping up to super-lightweight to fight for the division’s vacant WBO title.
But Flanagan had been injured, hadn’t fought for 14 months and had gone up a weight, all obstacles he had not faced before.
He comes here with something to prove. And that is when he is at his best.
Prograis is a heavy-handed, walk-you-down, take-you-out type.
He’s crude, but an incredibly dynamic fighter with 19 KOs in 22 fights.
Having stopped Julius Indongo in March and Juan Velasco four months later, Prograis is not coming in short on confidence.
But Flanagan is very smart, has a good chin and brings speed up with him, which allows him to see shots fractionally quicker than a super-lightweight would.
Flanagan has to be disciplined from start to finish, keep his concentration, hold the centre of the ring, and stay away from the ropes to give himself room to defuse the big shots.
He will see them coming.
As soon as Prograis sets to punch, Flanagan needs to stick a jab in his mouth and step sideways or back.
In the first half a dozen rounds, he has to keep it on the long finger, jab and move, be as evasive as he can be.
You have to favour Prograis, probably by late stoppage, but Flanagan has a chance if he can take him into the later rounds. Only then can he start to exchange.
Also on the bill is a second WBSS quarter-final between Ivan Baranchyk and Anthony Yigit, who are also contesting the IBF super-lightweight crown.
This has special significance for us since Josh Taylor will face the winner, if he comes through his quarter-final next week against unbeaten Ryan Martin.
It’s going to be an exciting eight days for British boxing, and who knows? We could even see an all-British final next year.
Follow Barry on Twitter
@ClonesCyclone | @McGuigans_Gym | @CyclonePromo
Source: Read Full Article