Flanagan outpoints Petrov to retain WBO lightweight title
WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan (33-0, 13 KOs) defeated mandatory challenger Petr Petrov (38-5-2, 19 KOs) by a 12 round unanimous decision on Saturday night at the Manchester Arena.
The Manchester man outboxed Petrov in most of the rounds and won by scores of 116-112, 120-108 and 118-110.
Flanagan boxed well behind his jab with good movement in the first round but Petrov landed some hard shots in the second.
However, the Russian could not sustain any attack as Flanagan landed punches often in the following rounds.
Petrov, who was cut in the 11th, kept marching forward and throwing punches but Flanagan remained in control until the final bell.
"It was a tough fight and he's very durable," said Flanagan.
"I knew I was winning the fight comfortably and I was a bit cagey at times. Perhaps I should have stepped it up a bit and forced the stoppage."
Flanagan, who was making his fifth world title defence, could now be set for fights against WBA champion Jorge Linares, WBC titlist Mickey Garcia or two-weight world champion Vasyl Lomachenko.
Also on the card, former WBO light middleweight champion Liam Smith (25-1-1, 14 KOs) scored a 10th round TKO over previously unbeaten Liam Williams (16-1-1, 11 KOs) in a thrilling fight.
Williams got the better of Smith in the early rounds with his combination punching and cut him over the right eye with a left hand in the third round.
Smith started to get into the fight in the following rounds with head and body shots, however the Welshman was still throwing more punches.
Smith's cut seemed to be worsening by the 7th but the Liverpool fighter started landing some heavy shots as Williams began to tire.
Then in the ninth a horrible cut appeared over Williams' right eyelid. It was unclear whether a punch or head clash caused the cut.
Williams' trainer Gary Lockett felt his fighter could not continue and pulled him out of the fight after the round.
Despite failing to make weight at Friday's weigh-in, Smith, who lost the WBO title by ninth round knockout to Mexico's Saul 'Canelo' Alvarez in September, still intends to stay in the light middleweight division. Smith weighed in 1 ½ pounds over the 154 lb limit.
Williams was ahead by one point on all three scorecards when the fight was stopped and deserves a rematch.
However, Canelo is expected to vacate the WBO 154lb title now that he is moving up in weight to 160 and Smith could possibly face Miguel Cotto for the vacant WBO title next.
Two-time Olympic gold medalist Nicola Adams won her pro debut by outpointing Argentina's Virginia Noemi Carcano (4-3-1, 0 KOs) over four two minute rounds at super flyweight. Referee Steve Gray scored it 40-36. Adams is scheduled to return on May 13.