Lightweight hot shot Terry “Turbo” Flanagan has signed an exclusive three year promotional deal with Queensberry Promotions as he looks to breakthrough in 2014 as the country’s premier 135lb fighter.
The unbeaten 24-year-old from Ancoats, Manchester, will be promoted by Frank Warren, Steve Wood will remain as his manager and he will continue to be trained by Steve Maylett as he sets his sights on a British title shot next year.
Southpaw Flanagan, ranked third in Britain, is unbeaten in 22 fights with 7 knockouts and has won the the English Super-Featherweight crown. In 2012 he won the Prizefighter lightweight tournament, that included wins over current Commonwealth lightweight Champion Derry Matthews and former British Super-Featherweight Champion Gary Sykes. And despite lifting the trophy, potential showdowns against rivals like Anthony Crolla never materialised.
This year he’s racked up three solid wins: a sensational fourth round stoppage of former Unified World Lightweight champion Nate Campbell in April; a second round stoppage of Michael Grant in October and last month’s six-round points win over Michael Dufek.
With Hall of Fame promoter Warren now in his corner and the Channel of Champions BoxNation set to televise his fights, Flanagan is ready to make a big noise in the talent packed domestic lightweight division next year.
“I’m really excited to sign with Frank Warren and take my career to the next level. This is going to be a really exciting time and with Frank’s guidance I know that the opportunities will now come my way,” Said Flanagan.
“The lightweight division is probably the most talent packed in Britain, for some reason I’ve been avoided by the other fighters, but now with Frank and BoxNation’s backing we can force these fights to happen. I want the British Champion Martin Gethin, he’s my main target, Commonwealth champion Derry Mathews is also in my sights, I know I can beat the likes of Anthony Crolla, and I aim to prove it this year,”
“I’m looking forward to my fights being screened on BoxNation who have established themselves in a short time to become the place to watch big-time boxing with huge names like Floyd Mayweather Jnr. and Manny Pacquiao and some of the best domestic action.”
Steve Wood added, “This is a great move for Terry and I’m really happy for him. Terry is in a great position heading into the new year and with Frank promoting him he can go on to become a big star. He can really fight and I believe in his ability and I can’t wait to see him fulfill his potential.”
Warren said, “I’m delighted to welcome Terry to the team. He’s a great signing to end the year with and I’m looking forward to getting to work on him. I’ve been impressed with his performances for a while now and I think he could become a big name in British boxing.”
GAVIN NOW FACES WELSH WARRIOR PRYCE
Frankie Gavin will now take on former Commonwealth Champion Bradley Pryce at the First Direct Arena in Leeds tomorrow night (Saturday 21st December).
It was announced yesterday that Gavin would face Juliano Ramos, who replaced Joseph Lamptey, but the Brazilian had passport issues which meant that he was unable to travel.
With the search on for a replacement, Welsh warrior Pryce answered the call and is fit and ready to face the unbeaten Birmingham star.
Gavin will face Pryce in an above weight 10-round contest, featuring as chief support to Stuart Hall’s Vacant IBF World Bantamweight title challenge against Vusi Malinga, live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546).
Pryce, a pro for over 14 years, has fought a who’s who of British boxing and has previously held the Commonwealth Light-Middleweight crown, making six successful defences. More recently he’s taken top talents Billy Joe Saunders, Ricky Godding and Chris Eubank Jnr the distance. His last fight was against big-punching European champion Sergey Rabchenko in November who he took twelve rounds for the second after their first fight in May 2011.
The 28-year-old has had a turbulent 48 hours, but has remained focussed and is looking forward to ending 2014 with an exciting performance.
“It’s certainly been a test of my focus and resolve with the change of opponents, but the main thing is that I’m still fighting, the training hasn’t gone to waste and I’m putting on a good show for the fans to close the year,” Said Gavin.
“It’s been a tough and testing time for the team, and the hardest of my career, but it’s been a learning experience and if anything happens like this again I’m prepared,”
“Pryce is a tough, hard, and experienced fighter and has seen it all. He hasn’t been stopped for almost five years since Matthew Hall took the Commonwealth light-middleweight title off him. Since then he’s fought almost everyone in the division, he took Billy Joe Saunders the distance plus Chris Eubank Jnr and only last month he took the hard-hitting Sergey Rabchenko the full twelve rounds,”
“I’m leagues above Pryce though and there’s no way I can lose to him. I’m not disrespecting him or overlooking him, but I believe in my skill and ability and I know I’ve got too much for him. Obviously if the openings come I’ll look to take him out early and if I can stop him it will be a great night for me.”
Reformed bad boy Stuart Hall is defiant he can overcome his Nelson Mandela inspired world title challenger.
Vusi Malinga, who takes on Hall this weekend at the First Direct Arena in Leeds, will use the memory of South Africa’s greatest icon, who passed away earlier this month, to help spur him to victory.
The pair clash live on BoxNation this weekend, concluding a great year for the channel, and the historic legacy of Mandela will act as an inspiration for the well-schooled Malinga.
“Mandela is a huge figure for the South African people,” said Malinga. “His struggle and battle represents something very special to everyone in the country and the rest of the world. His passing was a very sad occasion for South Africa but his legacy will run forever. There is great hope in his story and it will definitely be a huge inspiration for me come fight night - I want to do this for Mandela,” he said.
Malinga has had two previous challenges for the world title, against Japan’s Hozumi Hasegawa in 2009 where he lost by first round knockout, and Mexican sensation Leo Santa Cruz last year in which he lost a lopsided decision over twelve rounds.
The 34-year-old is extremely confident, though, that it will be third time lucky after claiming to have learned from those fights.
“I’m a different fighter now, a more experienced fighter. Hall doesn’t have that in his locker, he doesn’t have that valuable experience behind him,” Malinga said.
“My last world title fights I may have lost but I also gained from them. I was very young back then but now it’s my time and I feel ready and am raring to go.
“I have been in England for 6 weeks and have been taking this fight very serious. I’ve come to win and will finally fulfill my dream and become a world champion on Saturday – I have no doubts,” he said.
Hall, however, disagrees with Malinga’s assessment, and is sure that his dramatic turnaround from beach bum to world title champion will soon become a reality.
“I’ve totally changed my life around,” said Hall. “I was a young kid that was into the party lifestyle before - drinking, drugs, whatever. I was living out in Ibiza and really into that way of life but I realised if I wanted to do anything with my life I had to make a change – a big change. Thankfully I did, and now at this later stage, I’ve been given this chance and I’m not going to let it go,” he said.
“Malinga’s come up short at world title level in the past. He’s failed at the highest level before so that’s got to play on his mind. He was stopped the first time he fought for a belt and Leo Santa Cruz made easy work of him in his second challenge. His time has come and gone - now it’s up to me to grab this chance,” Hall declared.
Frankie Gavin and Paul McCloskey both make their ring return on the bill where they hope to cement their positions for a solid 2014.
Hall vs. Malinga is live on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546) at 7pm this Saturday. Visit www.boxnation.com to subscribe.