World champion Flanagan shuts out Fana for the full 12 rounds

World champion Flanagan shuts out Fana for the full 12 rounds

Manchester’s Terry ‘Turbo’ Flanagan (31-0, 12KO) defended his WBO world lightweight championship with a complete shutout of Mzonke Fana (38-10, 16KO).

All three judges scored the 12-round contest 120-106 in favour of Flanagan, who dropped Fana in rounds three and 12 to retain his belt for the third time.

Flanagan only had 12 stoppage wins on his record and was clearly keen to increase that ratio as he pushed the pace from the opening bell at the Ice Arena Wales in Cardiff Bay.

As a high intensity southpaw, Flanagan revealed hopes to remind fans of Welsh hero Joe Calzaghe. The Steve Maylett trained belt-holder targeted the body in the early rounds and landed several stinging uppercuts to the torso.

27-year-old Flanagan was rarely a metre away from Fana and the pressure made its mark in round three. Fana was put down at the start of the session and sent in to survival mode until the bell sounded.

In Flanagan’s rush to finish the fight, he sustained a very nasty cut under his right eye. It required close attention from cutsman Frank Hopkins but never threatened to hinder his chances.

The only other disruption in the first half of the fight came when Flanagan was warned for pushing Fana’s crouching body downwards. There weren’t any other moments that halted the action or Flanagan from securing round after round on the scorecards.

A flurry at the start of the eighth round staggered Fana and his resistance finally seemed to start wilting as he awkwardly crouched away. Another pair of hard shots at the end of the round made their mark and Flanagan was cruising.

Fana was scarcely allowed to come forward and the pattern continued in to the championship rounds. An exhausted Fana was again on the floor in the final round, touching down when knocked off balance.

The only time Fana has been stopped in his 22-year long career came at the hands of Mexico’s multi-weight legend Marco Antonio Barrera in 2003. Now aged 42-years-old, Fana had lost twice in his last six outings leading in to the Flanagan challenge and was far removed from the form that saw him reign as IBF world super-featherweight champion twice.

The bookmakers priced Flanagan as a 1/100 betting favourite – a position he hasn’t been used to having come through a series of well-matched fights against Stephen Ormond, Jose Zepeda, Diego Magdaleno and Derry Mathews.

The boxers had been set to meet as the chief supporting contest to Tyson Fury’s WBA and WBO world heavyweight title rematch with Wladimir Klitschko on 9 July. However, the headliner was postponed and in a real touch of class, Flanagan compensated 200 of his closest fans by paying for their tickets and buses to come to Cardiff.

It’s well known that Flanagan is desperate to meet Anthony Crolla, who is also from Manchester and holds the WBA version. However, the promotional divide between Frank Warren and Eddie Hearn appears to be ending any chances of it happening. Crolla will next fight WBC ‘Diamond’ champion Jorge Linares on 24 September.

Flanagan increased his statistics to 31 straight victories, which is the second longest active winning record in British boxing. Only IBF world welterweight champion Kell Brook has a longer 100% record with 36 straight successful outings.

(Image: Frank Warren)