By Matt Bevan (@Matt_Bevan68)
Terry Flanagan retained his WBO lightweight title by unanimous decision over mandatory challenger Petr Petrov in front of his faithful Manchester crowd, but it was certainly a performance that “Turbo” will be happy to forget
The scorecards read 116-112 and two much wider cards reading 120-108 and 118-110 which gave Petrov no credit, despite the fact he made many of the rounds very difficult to score.
It was hardly a performance to remember and will hardly leave any of the other world champions worried, but Flanagan got the win he needed and those bigger challenges could still come to fruition in the near future.
It was a tentative opener, but Flanagan moved well and got through Petrov’s guard with some good left hands, whilst also countering the Russian when he launched his own attacks.
The second was a much better affair for the Spanish based “Machine” got through with some solid shots, but as he pressed forward he still left himself open to more Flanagan counters.
It was just as tight in the third, as the seasoned veteran in Petrov had his moments of success, but the southpaw champion did about enough, a right hand counter undoubtedly the shot of the round.
Flanagan came out in the fourth with much more urgency, although Petrov was happy to meet him in the middle. “Turbo” moved well, but was never allowed to get into a comfortable rhythm as Petrov marched forward. Flanagan had done enough though to still be leading after four rounds.
The fifth round was anything but successful for Flanagan, as Petrov made it untidy and landed some clean blows to edge it in his favour. Both were warned by the referee during the stanza, Flanagan for holding and Petrov for use of his head.
But, Flanagan recovered from a poor fifth to take the sixth, working well to the body, but the reigning champion was still open to the right hand in particular from Petrov. It was safe to say that the styles were not gelling well at all.
Flanagan appeared to step up a gear in the seventh, but was warned for punching the back of Petrov’s head. The Russian was also enjoying some success on the inside. Flanagan did just about enough.
It was hardly the barnburner that we wanted and it was descending into a scrappy mess by the middle of the eighth. Petrov won the round with some nice body work, however Flanagan was handed a final warning by referee Marcus McDonnell for hitting round the back of the head.
Petrov continued to press forward in the ninth, getting through with a decent left hand, but Flanagan was making it hard work for himself, as he failed to use the height and reach advantages that he possessed.
It was all adding to be a poor main event for BT Sport’s first foray into boxing, as the style clash between the two was evident. Flanagan did enough to take the 10th, but he wasn't doing enough to dissuade “The Machine’s” oncoming march forward.
A clash of heads in the 11th left the challenger with a nasty looking cut on his right eye, as Flanagan’s movement and sharper right hands did enough to give him the round, leaving Petrov needing a stoppage to get the victory.
Petrov sensed this and came out swinging as he looked to secure the win, but Flanagan managed to steer clear of any trouble to maintain his unbeaten record and defend his WBO title for the fifth time.
Flanagan waited too long at times to let his shots go and could perhaps have got the stoppage if he had pressed the action more. Petrov gave as good as he had, but Flanagan walked away the deserving winner.
He will need to step up against better opposition if he wants to keep hold of his title and unbeaten record.