By Nick Parkinson, courtesy of The Daily Star
TERRY FLANAGAN says he will turn his attention to old school pal Anthony Crolla after dealing with Derry Mathews.
Manchester's WBO world lightweight champ makes his second defence against local hero Mathews at Liverpool's Echo Arena on March 12.
Flanagan - known as Turbo - has made rapid progress in the last year after smashing American Diego Magdaleno in two rounds in October and hopes victory over Mathews will set up a school reunion with Crolla.
WBA king Crolla and Flanagan both went to St Matthew's RC High School in Moston - and now each hold one of the four world lightweight titles.
But Flanagan, 26, insists their friendship will not get in the way of making another all-British world title unification fight following last Saturday's super-bantamweight scrap between Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg.
If Crolla, 29, comes through a first defence against Venezuela's Ismael Barroso - conqueror of Londoner Kevin Mitchell two months ago - in Manchester on May 7, City supporter Flanagan hopes a deal can be made to face United fanatic Crolla.
He said: "I know I will have to beat better opponents than Derry if I want to stay champion but they said fight Derry as a voluntary. Then I want a unification fight to prove I'm the best. Crolla is the one I want.
"Anthony and I are friends, we are from the same area, we went to the same school and are world champions in the same weight division. It's unheard of.
"I knew him at school. He was a few years ahead of me and he's a nice kid.
"But we will put our friendship aside for the fight, boxing is a business after all. And after the fight we can be mates again.
"Anthony has got a tough fight next but I reckon Barroso is made for him. He will come at Anthony and Anthony will catch him.
"I want to unify the division this year and I want fights against Crolla or IBF champion Rances Barthelemy sooner rather than later.
"It's hard for me to say when they will happen exactly but I would fight Crolla after Derry, then WBC holder Jorge Linares and then Barthelemy.
"Me and Anthony have different promoters and we're on different TV channels, which doesn't make it easy. But if people want to see the fight it should happen.
"I hope me and Anthony can happen soon because the longer you leave it, the more chance one of us could get beat and then it's not as big if we aren't both world champions."
Flanagan, who has won all of his 29 bouts in the paid ranks, has vowed to make a quick start against Mathews to silence his home crowd.
He said: "I've always wanted to beat someone in their own back yard. I fight hard and fast and he's not going to know what's hit him."