Terry “Turbo” Flanagan (33-0, 13 KO) is back in gear as George Gigney of Boxing News confirmed he will defend his WBO lightweight title against Felix Verdejo (23-0, 15 KO) in Manchester on Sept. 16.
Flanagan’s poor slate of fights in 2016 left him and Queensberry Promotions heavily criticized. But this year has been a resurgent one for the undefeated Englishman.
Verdejo is a supreme talent and Top Rank‘s prized lightweight. He returned from a motorcycle injury in February and defeated Oliver Flores by unanimous decision.
Super promoter Frank Warren is not taking it easy on his man this year. Verdejo represents the most dangerous test of Flanagan’s career.
Last year, however, boxing faithful were forced to watch Flanagan exert himself against multiple unheralded opponents. His tussle with domestic rival Derry Mathews was fun but only paved the way for woeful performances from Flanagan opposite a 42-year-old Mzonke Fana and Orlando Cruz, who had never before competed at 135 pounds.
The WBO champion opened 2017 by outworking ranked contender Petr Petrov to a points win in April.
Petrov is fine fighter and a title challenger across two weight classes. The fight was also free to watch on Twitter.
Already the No. 3 lightweight in the world, per TBRB, Flanagan can make a real case for the best fighter in the class with a win over Verdejo.
Mikey Garcia, the WBC champion, is fighting Adrien Broner next, who will not ever come close to making the 135-pound limit again. And WBA titleholder Jorge Linares, while terrific, has not beat anybody outside of Anthony Crolla since 2015.
The division could very well be up for grabs in September. This will depend, of course, on a spectacular performance from either Robert Easter Jr. and Denis Shafikov on June 30.
Flanagan holds a longer winning streak than any boxer in the United Kingdom. A natural counter-puncher, his knockout prowess is ever-improving as he develops into a new frame, debuting in 2009 as a featherweight.
Verdejo is every bit the well-built mode of a future star. Only 24, he has competed at lightweight since the 2012 Olympics in London.
Now it will be Flanagan’s gold on the line when the prodigious Puerto Rican returns to the U.K. in September.
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