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Boxing | International

Flanagan and Hooker meet for vacant belt

Former WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan from Manchester, England moves up a division when he meets Maurice Hooker of Dallas, Texas for the vacant WBO junior-welterweight belt at the Manchester Arena in Manchester, England on Saturday night.

In a battle of unbeaten fighters the 29-year-old Flanagan (33-0; 13), who fights from the southpaw stance, had his last fight in April 2017 when he retained the WBO lightweight belt with a unanimous points decision Petr Petrov, to make his fifth successful defence.

He won the vacant belt in July 2015 with a second-round stoppage win over Jose Zepeda and then made successful defences against Diego Magdaleno, Derry Matthews, Mzonke Fana and Orlando Cruz.

Flanagan, who is also a former British and European lightweight champion, has a good jab and likes to dictate the pace with his slick boxing style.

Hooker, 28, has a record of 20-0-3; 16 and has been boxing as a pro since April 2011. Before that he was an outstanding amateur with a reported record of 85-7.

Possibly his best performance was a split draw against Darley Perez and in his most recent fight in August last year he retained the WBO/NABO junior-welterweight title for the fourth time, with a points victory over Courtney Jackson

Hooker will have height and reach advantages over Flanagan, possessing reasonable power coupled with a good defence.

Flanagan has hometown-advantage and with quick hands might just have the edge over Hooker.

The other main organisation champions are WBC, Jose Carlos Ramirez (US) and WBA, Kiryl Relikh (Belarussia). The IBF belt is vacant.


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