It’s a card full of talent for yet another MTK show this Friday. Their latest offering comes from the Liverpool Olympia, and features a former World Champion, and a multiple time World Title challenger.
Former WBO Lightweight Champion, (33-2, KO13), moves back down to the division, after an unsuccessful stint at 140lbs.
He is eased back in after two gruelling fights, in an eight rounder against the Tanzanian, Jonas Segu (19-8-2, KO6).
Flanagan is unbeaten at the 135 pound weight class, and won the vacant WBO belt in a two round win against Jose Zepeda, who was forced to retire through injury. “Turbo” made five defences of the Title against decent opposition including stoppage wins against Diego Magdaleno (TKO2) and Orlando Cruz (TKO8) and lints wins against Derry Mathews, Mzonke Fana and Petr Petrov.
The opportunity presented itself for Flanagan to move up in weight last June, with the vacant WBO Super Lightweight Title up for grabs against Maurice Hooker. The American proved more talented and tricky than first thought though, and handed Flanagan a first defeat with a deserved split decision win.
The Manchester man went straight back in at the deep end following the reverse, entering the World Boxing Super Series, where Regis Prograis was too big and strong for him. Terry was floored in the eighth, before losing a wide decision for back to back losses.
He should get back to winning ways against Segu this weekend, with the African well travelled, but with no one of note on his ledger.
The pick is for Flanagan to shake off the rust and score a dominant points victory.
Martin Murray (37-5-1, KO17) did choose to retire after a disappointing majority points defeat to Hassan N’Dam N’Jikam last December, but the four time World Title challenger has decided to give things one last go, and he features in a ten rounder on the bill against the limited Portuguese, Rui Manuel Pavanito (10-8-1, KO5) over ten rounds at Super Middleweight.
A former British and Commonwealth Champion, Murray has challenged three times for World belts at Middleweight, where a draw in a bid for the WBA Title against Felix Sturm was his best effort. He did floor Sergio Martinez in a challenge for the WBC Title in April 2013, but ultimately was never going to get the decision in Martinez’ Argentina back yard. His third bid was thwarted by the excellent Gennady Golovkin, who stopped Murray in eleven in Monte Carlo in February 2015.
The lack of Middleweight opportunities forced Murray to move up, and he again suffered heartbreak in a split decision loss to WBO Super Middleweight Champion, Arthur Abraham in November 2015. Including this loss, Murray is 5-3 in his last eight, with further losses to George Groves, and N’Dam, and including a fortunate points win against the tough Game Rosado in April 2017. The St Helens native will look to make a real statement this Friday night.
Pavanito is best known for a six round points defeat on these shores to Craig “Spider” Richards at Light Heavyweight in July 2017, losing by only two points in a spirited effort. He is also unbeaten in his last five, and is durable, going the ten round distance three times out of the victories. The Lisbon man has only been stopped once in his paid career, an early stoppage defeat in 2008.
Prediction: Although Pavanito is durable, he has operated at a low level. This should play into Murray’s hands, and after a competitive opening few rounds, I expect Murray to take over after halfway to stop the game visitor in the later rounds.
The bill topper is neither of the aforementioned fighters.
James “Jazza” Dickens (26-3, KO11) is a former British Champion at Super Bantamweight, and he looks to pick up the vacant IBF European Title at Featherweight against the Australian, Nathaniel May (21-1, KO12).
He picked up the Lonsdale Belt in March 2015 with a points win against Josh Wale, after falling short when giving a great account of himself two years earlier in a tenth round stoppage defeat to Kid Galahad.
Dickens has also challenged for a World Title, but had his jaw broken by Guillermo Rigondeaux in two rounds in Cardiff back in July 2016 forcing him to retire from the contest.
Jazza shipped the British belt in his next fight when his contest with Thomas Patrick Ward going to the cards due to an accidental cut sustained by Ward.
Since those back to back losses, Dickens has won four straight, but at a much lower class, all via stoppage. His last outing saw a five round stoppage win against limited Tanzanian, Nasibu Ramadhani.
Nathaniel May is an unknown quantity that has compiled a decent record so far, with only one defeat on the slate, a six round points defeat to Waylon Law in just his fifth bout.
He is unbeaten in seventeen since that 2014 reverse, and has picked up various Oceanic Titles. His last two fights have taken place outside his native Australia, with an eight round points win in Belfast against Ruslan Berchuk, followed by a one round blowout of Jose Miguel Tamayo in Mexico just last month.
Dickens should have too much know how for the visitor, and I think he will start off cautiously before taking over from the middle rounds. The pick is for Dickens to pick up the vacant belt with a sound points win.
Sam Maxwell, Craig Glover, John Quigley and Natasha Jonas are also all in action on a busy card.