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Terry Flanagan vs. Mzonke Fana tonight


By Scott Gilfoid: WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan (30-0, 12 KOs) will be defending his title tonight against 42-year-old Mzonke Fana (38-9, 16 KOs) at Cardiff’s Ice Palace. This will be the 27-year-old Flanagan’s third defense of his WBO strap that he won last year in his controversial fight against Jose Zepeda.

It’s unclear why Flanagan never gave Zepeda a rematch, as there was talk that he was going to due to suffering a dislocated left shoulder. It was kind of a cheap way of winning world title if you ask me.

Flanagan wants to fight WBA strap holder Anthony Crolla, but then he sabotages his own efforts in getting that fight by facing an old timer like Mzonke Fana rather than one of the talented young contenders like Felix Verdejo or Denis Shafikov. What the case, Flanagan is going to need to fight Verdejo shortly because the Puerto Rican fighter is now ranked #1 with the World Boxing Organization.

In Flanagan’s last two title defenses, he’s beaten Derry Mathews and Diego Magdaleno. Flanagan did not look impressive against Mathews, who gave him a lot of problems in their fight last March. Flanagan won the fight by a 12 round decision, but he was nailed early and often by Mathews. Flanagan’s stock really dropped after that fight. I came away from watching that fight more impressed with Mathews than I was with Flanagan, because I thought he was the more entertaining fighter of the two.

I still don’t know why Flanagan is being matched against an old guy like Fana. The fight doesn’t make any sense at all, and obviously hasn’t gone over well with the boxing public. I guess the idea was that Flanagan would receive more attention by fighting a guy that is well known by the hardcore boxing fans.

Unfortunately for Flanagan, that attention has been mostly negative. I mean, I would have seen all this well ahead of time, which is why I would never have made a fight between Flanagan and Fana if I was his promoter. That would be a fail in my mind. If they wanted a recognizable opponent in a sure thing title defense, then they should have matched him against Liam Walsh or Thomas Stalker. I like this fights much better than a title defense against Fana.

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“I don’t think I performed to my best in the last fight,” said Flanagan to the manchesterevening news. “I’ve got to put that right in this next one and show people what I’m all about. He’s been there, done it. He’s been world champion. That says he’s dangerous. We’ve got to be on our game.”

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