By Frank Warren
The Welsh boxing public know a good fighter when they see one – and they have had more than a few of their own over the years.
The likes of Howard Winstone and Colin Jones immediately spring to mind, along with the more recent champions such as Joe Calzaghe and Enzo Maccarinelli.
I personally think they will like what they see when the Turbo charges into Cardiff next weekend (July 16) to make the third defence of his WBO world lightweight title against Mzonke Fana. Terry Flanagan has got a bit of the dragon about him and, to my mind, is clearly the best in the world in his weight category.
You can only admire what Anthony Crolla has achieved in the last year and he is a terrific fella and ambassador for the sport. But let’s get it right, Terry is a 30-0 undefeated world champion and the best in the business.
Crolla’s people chose not to even enter into negotiations over a local derby dust-up with Terry and have opted to go down the route of matching him with WBC ‘Diamond’ champion – whatever that is – Jorge Linares.
The reason for booking up Linares, best known over here for overcoming Kevin Mitchell last year, is they fancy the job and believe he is ripe for the picking.
They would have no such confidence in Crolla retaining his title if Terry was emerging from the opposite corner.
This has resulted in us having to bide our time a little in providing Terry the platform he craves to prove to everyone that he is top dog in the division.
That will come soon enough and we will work to put together a unification clash with the current WBC champion Dejan Zlaticanin later in the summer. In the meantime, he needs to deal with the challenge presented by former two-time world champion Fana in Cardiff.
Clearly he can’t afford to slip up and the experienced Fana is capable of posing a few problems. Terry is a model professional though, who always prepares properly, so I fully expect him to put on a show for the fans in Wales before moving onto bigger and better things.
Moving upwards is something Terry has thought out loud about recently, suggesting that in another three fights he will consider trying his hand at super lightweight.
When he does I fully anticipate it will be as a still undefeated unified world champion who will go on to enjoy similar success at 10st. You never know, by then Jack Catterall should be operating at the world championship end of the market, and what a fight that would be.
First things first though and I am sure Terry will more than play his part on what should be a fantastic night of boxing at the Ice Arena where no fewer than six belts go on the line, including two world title fights.
As season finales go, this card – like the Welsh football team – really does take some beating.
More from Frank tomorrow