By Richard Hubbard
His professional career has been up and running since the beginning of 2009, with assorted baubles including the British title, WBO European precluding the winning of the WBO world lightweight championship, followed by four defences.
For Terry Flanagan, the spoils of victory have not come at a price.
That he can recall, he has yet to be rocked in the ring or even put under too many periods of sustained pressure.
Given the 27-year-old is coming up to his 33rd fight and fifth defence of his world title, that is some going, while probably also explaining why he is so eager to leapfrog into elite circles.
Flanagan has long talked about his acute fear of losing translating into a major strength, one which has seen him become the British world champion with the longest unbeaten record.
It is not, however, an opinion shared by his trusted mentor Steve Maylett, who believes his natural ability is stifled by the negative thought process.
In the mind of Maylett, his world champion charge boxes within himself due to dread of the letter L featuring on his ring CV.
“My main fear is the fear of losing and my coach has gone mad at me a few times, saying if you fear losing that much you are only just doing enough to win,” explained the southpaw star. “Not just letting it go.
“He says one night when I relax and let it flow, I will beat absolutely anyone.
“It is not just that, I have never been behind in a fight and have barely lost a round in my career, so it is one of them things. When I am behind in a fight – that is when I think you will see the best in me.”
Faced with a clear and present danger – as he will be when he takes on the ranked Russian Petr Petrov at the Manchester Arena on April 8 – Flanagan suspects this could trigger the release of his inner beast.
“I think so, once I am behind in a fight and I know I can lose the fight either way, then I will have to let it go,” he predicted. “I am just happy to keep doing what I’m doing though because boxing is about hitting and not getting hit.
“I wouldn’t class myself as a warrior where I’d go in and take two to give four. I am exciting, but that is not my style. I have to be on the front foot throwing shots so I can get them to come back, so I can counter.
“I would put myself in the bracket of being a clever boxer.”
Petrov, like Flanagan, is someone the fellow top boys prefer to give a miss. One, because he is rugged and relentless and, two, because kudos for overcoming such a threat is often is short supply.
Flanagan’s promoter, Frank Warren, has openly said this is a fight he had reservations over making, perhaps for those very reasons.
The man himself was having none of it because he wanted an opponent who would get his hackles up.
“We asked for this fight and we know he is a hard fight as we’ve watched him a bit. There was talk of him being our mandatory a while ago so we had a look at him then.
“I spoke to Frank and remember him saying he wasn’t too sure about this Petrov because he is a great fighter. He said ‘if you are confident, then I’ll get you the fight’.
“We are two opposites. His style of fighting is an inside fighter coming forward, whereas I’m more a tall, rangy good boxer. It can either be won easily or won hard for me, it is how I make it really.
“It is a tough one though and he is a great fighter,” he added, before offering his take on the high risk, low reward theory.
“It is showing that with the way people are going on, on the internet, saying when is he going to fight people? Petrov is seen to the general public as a bit like myself in that not many people know who he is, but he is a great fighter.
“It is a bit high risk, low reward. If I beat him people are going to say, who is Petrov? But it is a fight I could potentially lose if I am not 100 per cent.
“I think it is the case that he is avoided. He’s been at world level for years and came up short against the likes of (Marcos) Maidana. I watched his fight with (Dejan) Zlaticanin last night and thought Petrov won it. It was in Zlaticanin’s home town and it was tough for him, but I thought he done enough to win it.”
Next time: Flanagan on why BoxNation will always be his fight channel of choice