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Terry Flanagan wins WBO lightweight belt on injury stoppage

Terry Flanagan may not have gotten the win the way he wanted, but he can call himself world champion.

Ben Hoskins/Getty Images

Terry Flanagan didn't win his first world title the way he wanted, and Jose Zepeda certainly didn't come up short the way he would have wanted in what was also his first world title opportunity. But a win's a win, and Terry Flanagan is the new WBO lightweight champion after Zepeda was forced to retire from today's bout in Manchester after two rounds due to injury.

With Zepeda starting well in round one, the fight was starting to look interesting in the second, as Flanagan began to land more shots and find a comfortable range. But near the end of the round, Zepeda suffered an obvious and nasty injury to his shoulder upon missing a punch, looking like it was a dislocation. Zepeda's corner tried to pop the shoulder back into place between rounds, but failed to do so, and the fighter had to withdraw from the bout, giving Flanagan a TKO victory.

For Zepeda (23-1, 20 KO), it's an absolutely awful way to lose any fight, let alone one at this level that would have given him a big push forward in his career. Zepeda's arm was put into a sling and he was wheeled out, appearing to be in true agony. Flanagan (28-0, 10 KO) celebrated in the ring with his team and new belt.

Obviously Flanagan, 26, is now a true player at 135 pounds, but whether he's a true top fighter at the weight remains to be seen. This was a fight that was going to hopefully prove something for the winner (and/or the loser), but they never really got to the meat of the bout, and it's a shame for both in that regard.

"I want the rematch," Flanagan told BoxNation's Steve Bunce after the fight. "I want to prove I'm the better boxer." Flanagan said he would take a couple of weeks off before getting back to work.

"It was shaping up to be a terrific fight," said promoter Francis Warren. "We've got a new hero here in Manchester."

Undercard Results

  • Jack Catterall def. Gabriel Calfin via TKO (1:20 of round 6)
  • Paul Butler def. Gustavo Molina via TKO (2:53 of round 5)
  • Liam Walsh def. Isaias Santos Sampaio via knockout (1:26 of round 6)
  • Alexander Ustinov def. Travis Walker via TKO (1:36 of round 2)