Apprenticeship served, Manchester lightweight Terry Flanagan is now primed to make his assault on the major titles.
Despite a largely understated entry into the profession back in January 2009, ‘Turbo Terry’ has made steady progress, compiling a perfect 22-0 slate.
Last year he captured and successfully retained the English super-feather strap with back-to-back ten round points wins over Newcastle’s Dougie ‘The Bullet’ Curran and Coventry’s Troy James. He then closed out the year by seeing off a quality field which included British champions Derry Mathews and Gary Sykes to snare a Prizefighter trophy.
And this April the 24 year old southpaw served notice that he could be a major force beyond domestic level when he minced Florida’s ex WBO, WBA and IBF lightweight king Nate Campbell in four rounds.
He’s next out at Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool on Saturday 1st March on the undercard of the title-packed card featuring Paul Butler, Nathan Cleverly, Joe Selkirk and Kevin Satchell, live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546).
Tickets, from £40, are available from Eventim on 0844 842 5005 or www.eventim.co.uk
Shortly after signing a promotional deal with Frank Warren, boxing writer Glynn Evans tracked down the quiet Mancunian in search of some background information and what makes him tick.
Name: Terry Flannigan
Born: Crumpsall Hospital, Manchester
Family background: I’m the eldest of six kids. I’ve four younger sisters and a younger brother. Nana’s side of the family are from Belfast and I believe a couple of her brothers boxed but, other than that, I’m the only one. One of my sister’s plays football for Manchester City Ladies.
I’ve a ten month old son called Frankie and I live with him and my missus in Ancoats, Manchester.
Trade: I’m a scaffolder but at the minute I’m concentrating solely on the boxing.
What age did you become interested in boxing and why? When I was about seven, I went along to the Ancoats Lads gym with all my cousins and mates from our estate. They gradually dropped off and it ended up just me.
What do you recall of your amateur career? At the Ancoats I was coached by Sean Rafferty who showed me all the basics and footwork. Then, at the age of about 14, I moved to the Northside club in Clayton which was run by Joe Pennington.
I probably had about 60 amateur fights with a half and half (win-loss) record. I was really, really small for my age and struggled to get fights so I’d weigh-in with my ball guard under my trunks and stuff loads of coppers about me just so I’d weigh heavier and get more bouts. I’d still give stones away. I’d fight anyone.
When I was about 12, I fought (reigning British and Commonwealth super-flyweight champion) Paul Butler twice in the schoolboys. We won one each.
Basically, I won nothing in the amateurs. I got to the junior ABA semis once but lost to a kid called Daniel from Birmingham way. I never boxed internationally but I once went to Germany with a Manchester select squad that also included Karl Place. I lost a close one to the German team captain. I’ve forgotten his name but believe he went on to box at the Olympics.
I only went in the senior ABAs once but was robbed blind in the north-west stage against (future British flyweight champion) Paul Edwards of Liverpool. I won easy so decided to go pro after that.
Why did you decide to turn pro when you did? It was always my intention to turn pro so I never got too disillusioned with the bad decisions or my ‘iffy’ record in the amateurs. I always knew I’d be better suited to the longer rounds. For me, amateur boxing was only ever about getting experience.
I actually wanted to turn over when I was 18 but my amateur handlers advised I wait another year.
Tell us about your back up team: I’m managed by Steve Wood, promoted by Frank Warren and trained by Steve Maylett who’s been heavily involved with me since the end of my amateur career. Bobby Rimmer, Steve’s pal, always works my corner.
I’ve known Steve since I was a kid. He was a decent amateur but got injured. He started helping me at Northside ABC when I felt I wasn’t getting the attention I needed.
Steve looks after everything for me; diet, nutrition, strength and conditioning. He’s one of the best young coaches about. He’s prepared to listen and take on new stuff. He talks me through every fight from the corner and he’s transformed me from an average amateur into a winner, in the pros.
What’s your training schedule? Which parts do you most and least enjoy? I like to have an eight week camp and train twice a day. In the morning I do swimming and running. It’s more high intensity sprints than distance jogging. After that, I eat well and rest during the day before going back to the boxing gym at night.
My schedule there varies, depending on what we’re working on. But I’ll start with a skip and a stretch to get warm. Then Steve will call me into the ring to spar or do pads. He talks to me constantly and does a lot of technical stuff. We spend most of the session inside the ring.
My favourite part of training is going around the other gyms to spar the top pros. I’ve done work with the likes of Ricky Burns, Jason Booth, Rendall Munroe, Anthony Crolla, Derry Mathews.
The worst part of training is the 45 minute hill run that we do up the moors on Saturday mornings. That’s gruelling.
Describe your style? What are your best qualities? I’m a good southpaw boxer who can hold my boxing together well and have a fight if I need to. I’m a thinking fighter. I’m always very fit and I’ve got a high work rate. I’ve got quite a good back hand. People used to say I couldn’t punch but, since winning Prizefighter (Oct 2012), I’ve stopped three of my last four. I like to think I can do it all.
What specifically do you need to work on to fully optimise your potential as a fighter? Offensively, I’m already pretty good but I need to keep my hands tighter. There’s always areas you can improve on.
What have you found to be the biggest difference between the pro and amateur codes? I’ve actually tried to bring a lot of my amateur style with me into the pros. I still use a lot of speed and angles but I try to maintain it over the 12 rounds. You have to mix things up a bit in the pros.
Who is the best opponent that you’ve shared a ring with? Difficult one to answer, that. The two I enjoy sparring most are Ricky Burns and Scott Quigg. I had top spars with them. Burns is strong and tough, Scott is probably the best technically. Sparring hard against top lads allows me to show my best.
All time favourite fighter: Manny Pacquiao. Being a southpaw, I try to base my style upon his. I particularly like his speed and footwork.
All time favourite fight: Diego Corrales versus Jose Luis Castillo, the first one. Both gave it their all and it kept swinging both ways.
Which current match would you most like to see made? Mayweather-Pacquiao. It might still happen and it would still be a close one.
What is your routine on fight day? I try to get up around normal time. I’ll have some porridge then perhaps take a walk down my mums and chill. Your mind is constantly on the fight, what you need to do what you need to avoid.
In the afternoon, I’ll try to have a sleep, maybe watch a bit of tele. I won’t do too much.
When I first arrive at the venue, I’ll have a bit of a laugh with the boys but once it’s time to get my gear on, I start focussing. I wrap my own hands, have a stretch and do some shadow and pads. Steve Maylett will be drilling into me what shots I need to throw.
Entrance music: Last time it was ‘Are You Mine?’ by The Arctic Monkeys.
What are your ambitions as a boxer? Since I turned pro it was to win a British title (Lonsdale Belt) outright but as you move through the ranks your goals get bigger. I think I’m definitely at British title level now but, because I’m so awkward, I’ll probably have to wait until I’m made mandatory challenger before I get my chance.
How do you relax? Just chill out spending time with me family. I like to go out for meals or to the pictures with me girlfriend. I used to like playing football but stopped cos of the risk of injuries.
Football team: I’m a big Man City fan and I’ve followed them all over Europe. I’ve not got a season ticket any more because I usually train on weekends but I still go when I can.
Read: I read The Sun.
Music: I like all sorts but my favourite is indie. I like the bands; Oasis, Arctic Monkeys, Kings of Leon.
Films/TV: I like comedy films like Anchorman with Will Ferrell. On TV, I just watch sport, footy.
Aspiration in life: To be able to leave a good few quid to me kids so they don’t have it as hard as I’ve had it. To achieve all that I possibly can from boxing.
Motto: Train hard, fight harder!