Terry Flanagan to fight Felix Verdejo on September 16

07/07/2017 12:29

WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan (33-0, 13 KOs) will fight mandatory challenger Felix Verdejo (23-0, 15 KOs) on September 16 at the Copper Box Arena in London, England.

Flanagan, 28, will be making his sixth world title defence since winning the vacant WBO belt in a second round injury stoppage win over Jose Zepeda in July 2015. The fight was stopped after Zepeda suffered a dislocated left shoulder. The Englishman went on to defeat Diego Magdaleno, Derry Mathews, Mzonke Fana, Orlando Cruz and Petr Petrov.

Puerto Rico's Verdejo, 24, is coming off a unanimous decision win over Oliver Flores in February, in his first fight back since a motorcycle accident last summer which left him in hospital for five days with numerous cuts and bruises. The injuries sidelined Verdejo for the remainder of 2016.

In fighting Flanagan, Verdejo will be taking a step up in competition, but also, Verdejo is the best fighter Flanagan has come up against.

The winner of Flanagan-Verdejo looks set for unification fights against fellow 135 pound world champions Jorge Linares, Mikey Garcia or Robert Easter Jr.

Also on the card, WBO middleweight champion Billy Joe Saunders (24-0, 12 KOs) will defend his title against American contender Willie Monroe Jr (21-2, 6 KOs).

The British southpaw was initially scheduled to fight mandatory challenger Avtandil Khurtsidze on July 8 in London, but the fight was canceled after Khurtsidze was arrested for charges relating to a Russian organised crime gang.

Saunders, 27, has not fought since his points win over Artur Akavov six months ago, in his first defence of the WBO belt he won when he outpointed Andy Lee in December 2015.

Monroe, 30, also a southpaw, has won two fights in a row since Gennady Golovkin stopped him in the sixth round of his previous world title challenge in May 2015.