Being a former scaffolder, Terry Flanagan is used to heights and on Saturday he hopes to take his boxing career to its highest level.
Flanagan (32-0, 13 KOs) makes a fifth defence of his WBO world lightweight title against Petr Petrov (38-4-2, 19 KOs) in front of his home city supporters at the Manchester Arena as promoter Frank Warren lines up a big summer fight.
Hughie Fury will be his heaviest ever when he takes on WBO champion Joseph Parker on May 6 — but he’ll also be his leanest, says his trainer and father Peter Fury.
Warren is in talks to bring WBA champion Jorge Linares (42-3, 27 KOs) back to Manchester after the Venezuelan’s classy points win over Anthony Crolla last month.
Ukrainian Vasyl Lomachenko (7-1, 5 KOs), the two-time Olympic gold medallist and two-weight world champion, is another high-profile opponent Warren is considering for Flanagan. The 27-year-old insists his scaffolding background moulded him.
“A lot of people get it handed to them, but I’ve had to work for it,” Flanagan told ESPN. “I used to get up at 5.00 a.m. to do my running before working as a scaffolder.
“I only gave up when I won the British title three years ago so I could get more out of my training sessions and better recovery time.
“It made me the fighter I am today. I had to make a living at the time and a lot of boxers have to do the same or go back to it.
“One slip up and I could be back doing the scaffolding, so I keep focused, keep working with my head down.”
Linares was impressive against Crolla (31-6-3, 13 KOs), but Flanagan insists it would be different against him.
“Linares is one good fighter, he boxed within himself and didn’t really have to get out of first gear against Anthony,” Flanagan said.
“People were saying after he beat Crolla no one would beat him, but I think otherwise.
“I’ve got the style to beat him though. Styles make fights and I’ve got the style to beat him. Me and Anthony are opposites. He is a walk forward fighter where as I’m more of a boxer, forward and backwards and angles. If I do that against Linares I would beat him.
“These are the fights I want foremost, the unification fights, and there’s talk of Lomanchenko.”
Warren wants fights against Linares or Lomachenko rather than a clash with fellow Manchester boxer Crolla, who is promoted by Warren’s British rival Eddie Hearn.