‘Do fans want to see it? Yes’: Crolla and Flanagan lined up for Manchester showdown

A showdown between Manchester lightweights Terry Flanagan and Anthony Crolla is being lined up for early 2016, Francis Warren has said.

Crumpsall-born Flanagan defended his WBO lightweight in impressive fashion against Diego Magdaleno at the Manchester Arena on October 10, and was expected to make his second defence on the undercard of the Andy Lee Billy v Joe Saunders showdown at the same venue on December 19.

However, the 26-year-old has pulled out of the card, with Warren, son of Queensbury Promotions head man Frank, claiming that Flanagan needs more of a rest after spending 17 weeks consecutively in camp, dating back to before his World Title showdown with Jose Zepeda in July.

And despite Warren claiming that he was ‘disappointed’ not to see Flanagan in action again this year, his suggestion of a showdown with fellow Mancunian Crolla – who faces a rematch with Darleys Perez for the WBA title in November – is sure to thrill the punters.

“Terry’s just got back from a well-deserved break,” he said.

 “I think he just needs a bit of time.

“His performance against Magdaleno – maybe he was just in a hurry to get out of there as he needed a break – he was sensational, a cracking performance, and I think he feels that he needs a break to get back to that peak again.

“I’m disappointed obviously because I wanted to see him out again.

“There’s another lightweight not far up the road who I feel is a great fight and that’s one to look forward to.

“[Flanagan taking a break] keeps us all waiting a little bit longer, but it’ll make sure we come back to Manchester again next year.

“Why wouldn’t we want to make that fight? The easiest way to answer those sort of questions is that a fight that you’d like to see?

“It’s a fight that we want to make. Do the fans want to see it? Yes. So we’ll try our very best to see it made.”

Still on the undercard of Lee’s WBO Middleweight world title defence against Saunders is Liam Smith, who became the first Smith brother to secure a world belt with his seventh round stoppage of John Thompson on the same bill as Flanagan earlier this month.

The 27-year-old Liverpudlian – who is based at Gallagher’s Gym in Bolton – was highly impressive in securing the WBO Super-Welterweight title, and is hoping for a big name next-up after declining a rest, in favour of fighting before Christmas and then having the festive period as holiday.

Potential opponents don’t come much bigger than American legend ‘Sugar’ Shane Mosley, with the 44-year-old calling out ‘Beefy’ on Twitter.

And both Warren and Smith are hopeful that they can get the fight sorted, although the latter does not expect much trouble beating a ‘past it’ Mosley.

“It’s a fight I’d love, he’s a fighter I’d be honoured and privileged to share a ring with,” Smith said.

“He’s been a legend in his time. But I do think he’s past it.

“I do think he’s still got a little left, he can still whack, he’s still got his speed but after eight rounds, 12 rounds I think it all goes down for him.

“But it’s a massive fight and one that I really hope gets made.

“I’m excited to be back out early. I was asked the question whether I wanted to take a break and I said ‘no, I want to get out there and see what it’s like defending a world title’.

“I’ve had enough time to do that [let the world title sink in].

“I can’t take my eye off the ball, if I get beat in my first defence then I’m not going to be remembered for anything am I?

“So I think I just need to put that behind now and concentrate on December 19 and start proving myself to be a worthy world champion.”

Lee and Saunders also faced the media, although with the fight already being postponed twice – once when Lee caught a virus, and again when Saunders sustained a cut eye in sparring – there was little to say that hadn’t already been said, with both fighters keen to do their talking in the ring.

However, both men had words of contempt for Chris Eubank Jr, with Lee dismissing the prospect of ever facing the cocky 26-year-old – ‘I don’t think our careers are on the same trajectory’ – and Saunders deriding Tony Jeter, the man who Eubank beat on Saturday night.

“He was a binman, wasn’t he?” Saunders said, with the bad blood which was there when he beat the son of former-British world champ Chris Eubank showing no sign of dispersing.

“I don’t think opponents like that should be allowed in boxing, because you could go to a pub, pick someone drunk and have a better fight.” 

Images courtesy of Matchroom Boxing and iFL TV, via Youtube, with thanks

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