MANCHESTER has a new boxing hero after Terry Flanagan successfully retained his world title with a stunning second round stoppage. Kal Sajad witnessed the action…

Manchester’s Terry Flanagan destroyed opponent Diego Magdeleno on Saturday night to make a successful first defence of his WBO world lightweight title.

Despite boasting an undefeated record, Flanagan went into the fight at the Manchester Arena with much to prove, having won the belt in unsatisfactory circumstances earlier this year when opponent Jose Zepeda retired injured on his stool after just two rounds.

But it was a career best performance from the 26-year-old from Ancoats, taking just five minutes and 38 seconds to dismantle Magdelona, who had gone into the fight as a slight favourite.

After a cautious first round, Flanagan went into the second with much more intent and floored his opponent with a straight jab early on. Sensing a knockout, Flanagan unleashed a flurry of jabs and left hooks to flatten Magdelona two more times, prompting referee Terry O’Conner to wave off the fight.

Comparisons are already being drawn between Flanagan and the former golden boy of Manchester boxing Ricky Hatton and it clear to see why, with promoter Frank Warren describing it as: “the best performance from a British fighter in many years.”

Flanagan will now be enjoying a well-earned holiday with his partner before deciding on whether he will fight again this year. With some huge fights out there, both in the UK and overseas, he will not be short on offers.

It capped off a fine night in the Manchester Arena, albeit to a disappointingly low number of fans. Liverpudlian Liam Smith delivered a devastating seventh round knockout to American John Thompson to win the vacant WBO light-middleweight title.

Smith became the first of his four boxing brothers to become a world champion and he did it in style, a brutal left hook followed by an overnight right leaving Thompson face down on the canvas and unable to continue.

It was a triumphant night for Manchester’s young crop of boxers, with wins for Jimmy Kelly, Adrian Gonzalez, Luke Blackledge and the highly rated prospect Jack Catterall.

It was also a successful debut for Indian middleweight Vijender Singh, now based in Manchester, who won via a second round stoppage in a fight that was being broadcast to over 20 million people in his home nation.

By Kal Sajad at the Manchester Arena

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