Flanagan to single out Linares after Cruz defence

Phil Jay 09/11/2016

Queensberry Promotions

WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan wants to unify the division once the dust settles on his upcoming defence against Orlando Cruz in Cardiff, Wales.

The 27 year-old from Manchester was present in his hometown arena as Jorge Linares defeated Anthony Crolla to claim the WBA and WBC ‘Diamond’ titles in September and is hopeful of sealing a battle with the Venezuelan in 2017.

“I do what I need to get the win but if I feel the stoppage is there I’ll go for it,” said Flanagan. “Cruz is a strong fighter and very dangerous and more than capable of causing an upset.

“I’m out to prove a point and show everyone that I’m world class. Linares in seen as number one in the division after beating Crolla and it would be good to get that fight and do something that Crolla couldn’t do to prove I’m the best around.”

As it currently stands, Linares is contracted to give Crolla the first shot, but however the rematch pans out, Flanagan could still be in for a blockbuster encounter against the winner.

Flanagan will need to look good first and foremost at the Motorpoint Arena and stop Cruz becoming the first openly gay world champion in the history of the sport.

Cruz, 35, lost out to Orlando Salido for the featherweight version in 2013 but has since fluctuated between 126 and 135 pounds and is not seen as a fully-fledged lightweight.

With Flanagan’s known power at the limit, that could mean trouble for the Puerto Rican in two weeks’ time.