by Shaun Brown
During a bloody encounter for the vacant WBO Super Lightweight title with Maurice Hooker on Saturday night, Terry Flanagan suffered five cuts which required 30 stitches.
Flangan, the former WBO champion at 135lbs, collided with Hooker on numerous occasions as the southpaw and orthodox fighter butted heads leaving Flangan's face crimson masked.
Hooker got the nod via split decision in Manchester (115-113, 117-111, 111-117) to become the latest American WBO champion at 140lbs, after Terence Crawford vacated the belt to go to 147lbs where he won world honours at the weekend against Jeff Horn.
Boxing Scene caught up with Flanagan's promoter Frank Warren to get his take on the fight.
"I felt sorry for Terry. Fourteen months out inactivity. He obviously needed a fight. I didn't think there was a lot in the fight. I think the fight could have gone either way," he said.
"Someone said to me 'I had it to Hooker by one or two rounds'. I wouldn't argue (with that). I thought he [Flanagan] just nicked it. Some thought he won, some had it a draw. The British judge (Phil Edwards) had it 117-111 for Hooker. What fight was he watching? How could that be? It's absolutely impossible. What is going on? And the other judge (Jerry Jakubco) had it in reverse so there was a 12 round difference in how they seen the fight!"
With the loss, 'Scene asked Warren if Flanagan had been brought into the mix with possible fights against stable-mates and fellow 140lbrs Ohara Davies and Jack Catterall. The latter two have been linked to a potential fight against one another sooner rather than later.
"We've got to get him sorted, let him heal up and we'll meet. Obviously there's a good domestic scene going. He'll want a rematch (with Hooker). We have to look at all those options and possibilities."
On the undercard there were wins for super welterweight JJ Metcalf, middleweight Mark Heffron and heavyweight Nathan Gorman.
In his second fight of the year, and having to deal with a late change of opponent, Liverpool's Metcalf (18-0, 10 KOs) stopped durable Spaniard Aitor Nieto in the 12th round to pick up the vacant WBC International Super Welterweight title.
"He (Nieto) was a tough guy, he came to fight. He did a job and got rid of him in the end. I thought he was good," said Warren.
Oldham's Mark Heffron impressed against the game Andrew Robinson to win his first professional title, grabbing the WBC International Middleweight title. Heffron's power proved too much for Robinson as the Redditch fighter became the 16th opponent from 20 to not last the distance against Heffron. Warren is now looking for the 26-year-old Heffron to kick on from here.
"He's explosive," Warren commented.
"He's a good fighter. I thought it took him a little while to get into the groove. He was in with a guy who was quite a tough customer, but he can finish, he can finish big time. Explosive and exciting. I like him and I think he's going to go from strength to strength."
Warren added that he believes Heffron is now ready for a British title shot. "I think he needs those challenging fights to get the best out of him."
Nathan Gorman looked every part the British heavyweight dark horse by dismantling Sean Turner in three rounds to move to (13-0, 11 KOs). The build-up had been heated but Gorman looked a level above Turner and took another step to a mouth-watering tussle with hot prospect Daniel Dubois, also promoted by Frank Warren. And while these two look likely to get it on it won't be any time soon.
"I wouldn't do it this year. I wouldn't do it in the next year," he revealed.
"That's about building that fight into a monster fight and those guys will get a big payday. It'd be a meaningful fight if we did it tomorrow but by then it'll be a crucial meaningful fight, it'll be a career fight.
"I think (trainer) Ricky Hatton's done a great job with Nathan. He's a nice kid too. He's got a nice way about him, a nice family. He's a good kid."
Shaun Brown covers British boxing for Boxing Scene. Contact him on Twitter @sbrown2pt0