Terry Flanagan: Anthony Crolla bout possible but unification fight a priority

Terry Flanagan (left) is unbeaten in 32 fights
Terry Flanagan (left) is unbeaten in 32 fights

WBO lightweight champion Terry Flanagan is open to a bout with Anthony Crolla but believes he "will have bigger fish to fry" if he beats Petr Petrov.

Flanagan, 27, will defend his title for a fifth time when he meets the 34-year-old Russian in Manchester on 8 April.

He then hopes to fight WBA champion Jorge Linares, who beat Crolla for a second time in six months on Saturday.

"I think I can beat Linares," Flanagan told BBC Sport. "I think I have the style to beat him."

"Anthony Crolla was made for Linares. I wouldn't be walking in like Crolla was. I truly believe I'm the best in the division.

"If people want the Manchester showdown with Anthony that is possible if the money is right but first and foremost I want the unification fights."

Image of Flanagan and Crolla with manchester City and Manchester United shirts respectively
Flanagan and Crolla went to the same high school but support rival Manchester clubs

Flanagan - who went to the same Manchester high school as Crolla - believes his promoter Frank Warren offered Linares more money to face him than Crolla, adding the Venezuelan "took the easier option".

Since Crolla's defeat in the rematch with three-weight world champion Linares, Warren has said he would need to win "at least two non-championship fights" in order to be ranked sufficiently with the WBO for any meeting with Flanagan to take place.

Crolla's promoter Eddie Hearn has stated Flanagan does not have the necessary profile to form part of a bout which would create a sufficient payday for his fighter.

"With me and Anthony having rival promoters it's hard to make fights," Flanagan told BBC Radio 5 live Breakfast. "At the minute I've got bigger fish to fry, the likes of Linares. I've got options, first and foremost get this one right.

"Petr Petrov is in the prime of his career and we're in for a tough one, we have to be 100% on it or those big fights in the summer would be out the window."

Flanagan goes into the bout unbeaten in 32 fights, while Petrov boasts 38 wins and two draws from 44 contests.

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