Terry Flanagan says he will have to be at his very best to preserve his undefeated when he defends his WBO world lightweight title against Petr Petrov.
The Mancunian headlines a bumper night of boxing on BT Sport when he takes on the 33-year-old at the Manchester Arena on April 8.
Petrov (38-4-2, 19 KOs), a native of Russia who fights out of Spain, previously challenged for the world title in 2011 when he was stopped by former Floyd Mayweather foe Marcos Maidana and is on a six fight winning streak heading into the contest.
“If I’m not 100 percent against Petrov I could slip up,” said Flanagan. “If I’m not on my game he’s a potential banana skin and I won’t get those big unification fights later on in the year. First and foremost I need to get in the gym and do the hard work. Me at my best beats him at his best.
“He’s been at world level for years now and he’s right up there. He’s got four losses on his record but they were all against good fighters. Petr is a seasoned fighter but on the night I can adapt and deal with whatever he brings.”
Flanagan believes the British public are yet to see the best of him and is keen to showcase his talents to a new audience as part of BT Sport’s ground-breaking deal with BoxNation.
“There’s still a lot more to come from me and I’m looking forward to showing people what I can do on April 8th,” he added. “I still think I’m boxing within myself. I’ve never been behind in a fight so I’ve never had to show what I’m made of. You’ll see the best of me when I do go behind in a fight.
“My better nights are still to come, which says a lot a 32-0 and preparing to make my fifth world title defence. Petrov is a great fighter, he can come at you and also box a bit. This is going to be a tough fight and your next fight is always your hardest fight.”
Flanagan v Petrov tops a mouth-watering night of action at the Manchester Arena.
Super-welterweight rivals Liam Smith and Liam Williams clash in one of the most anticipated domestic dust-ups in recent times while slick South African Zolani Tete faces Arthur Villanueva in a final eliminator for the WBO World Bantamweight strap.
Double Olympic champion and women’s boxing icon Nicola Adams OBE fights for the first time as a professional and former Team GB Heavyweight monster Daniel Dubois makes his highly-anticipated professional debut.