Exclusive: Peter Flanagan recalls boxing career, severe eye injury

Joe Hewlett 12/07/2017
Peter Flanagan

Over the years, boxing has changed a lot. Nobody knows that more than ex-professional Peter Flanagan.

The Mancunian fought 32 times, retiring with a record of 13-17-2. It’s a record that doesn’t reflect on a career that left blood, sweat and tears all in the ring.

Receiving just £200 a fight, Flanagan didn’t fight for the financial rewards, he fought for the love of fighting. Though it was taking out of his hands as he was forced into retirement after having a seven-hour operation to save vision in his left eye.

The former welterweight revisited the moment that ended his career.

“It was said that my fight with Micky Bird was the one that caused the damage to my eye but it wasn’t. I think it was in my fourth fight where I hurt my eye. I was boxing and I slipped a right hand before taking a full floating shot to me eye. It took my vision away but I never told anyone about it,” Flanagan exclusively told World Boxing News.

“Things were different back then. I walked down into the arena with no trainer the once as Ken Daniels was on holiday. Somebody in the back gave me some big soggy gloves to put on. There was no tape, no bandages, nothing.

“The doctors weren’t strict, I got into the ring once with a fresh cut eye from two days previous in sparring and they looked at my face and checked my other eye where I had an old scar and he asked me, ‘when was that done?’ He never spoke about the fresh cut.”

Despite challenging times, the 60-year-old has fond memories of his time in action, especially a clash from 1983.

He said: “When I boxed in Leeds, they were such a partisan crowd. From cheering and booing opponents, it was always a good atmosphere down there. I was lucky to fight in Morley and had the luxury of two weeks training.

“But I remember thinking more about the crowd than my opponent as they were so vocal, their heads were hanging over the ring and they were shouting abuse at me.

“I played the fight like bad guy in pantomime. I had him on floor from right hand, in the second round and thought it was going to be over. But it was punch to punch and at one point, he caught me with punch which knocked me off balance and the crowd were routing for him to finish me off.


“I wasn’t hurt though, and I bounced off ropes and caught him with a shot and floored him, winning in the fifth round. I walked out the Arena to a round of applause. It was incredible.”

Now battleing dementia pugilistica, Flanagan has a new fight on his hands and plans to raise as much money and awareness as possible.

The Flanagan’s have a donation page with a target of £7,000 to raise for all sufferers of dementia pugilistica.

To sponsor the family and all suffers across the UK, visit the link:https://mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/peterflanagan

Joe Hewlett is lead writer for World Boxing News. Follow Joe on Twitter @Hewlett95