Fenech believes he can help Bam Bam
AUSTRALIAN boxing great Jeff Fenech says he is prepared to work with Mark Flanagan after the Townsville boxer lost his WBA cruiserweight world title fight against Russia’s Denis Lebedev.
The champion retained his belt via a unanimous points decision, with the judges scoring it 119- 108, 120- 107 and 119- 108, after methodically working Flanagan over throughout the 12- round bout in Yekaterinburg, Russia.
The unusually cautious Flanagan landed several heavy shots and looked comfortable in rounds one, two, six and 10, with the sixth arguably Flanagan’s best after throwing a number of semi- wide punches to keep him in the fight.
But it was not enough as Lebedev dictated terms with slow pace and skilled counterattacking to keep Flanagan boxed in.
“Didn’t get the job done tonight, just couldn’t seem to find my range in there,” Flanagan told his fans on social media. “Lebedev is a great champion and the better man won tonight, sorry to those I let down but I’ll be back better and stronger, u live and u learn.”
Fenech said there were lessons to be learned for Flanagan, who was raised in a Rasmussen housing commission and started boxing at 13 with the Upper Ross Hawks.
“I think Mark might have had the wrong game plan,” Fenech said. “I was seeing a lot of jabs, one- twos and yes it was disappointing to see.
“The ‘ Bam Bam’ I know is ag- gressive and he punches and punches. I didn’t see him out there.”
Flanagan earned the nickname Bam Bam for his devastating punching power, having gone into yesterday’s fight with 15 knockouts from 22 wins.
But Flanagan was well outside his comfort zone, with the fight not just his first overseas but his first trip abroad altogether.
“I’d like to do a bit of work with him,” Fenech said.
“I believe he’s much better than that and I would’ve loved to have been with him over there. I thought he had the ability and power to win, but he had to throw more punches and take more risks.
“I mean he obviously has the ability, he went 12 rounds with the titleholder.
“But the thing is sometimes with these opportunities you have to put everything on the line.”
Flanagan will stay in Russia until the end of the week before returning to Brisbane, and an upcoming trip home to Townsville is on the cards.
Waiting for him will be his dedicated local supporters, including Flanagan’s former Hawks trainer Dennis Clancy.
“It’s a bit disappointing he didn’t get it, but the big thing is he’s now fought at this level,” Clancy said.
“He probably needed to back himself a few times, but Lebedev’s a great fighter and he had that title for a long time.
“Mark hasn’t let anyone down, we’re so proud of him, and when he gets an opportunity like that again I’m sure he’ll really back himself.
“It might have been a different story if the fight was held on Mark’s home soil, but that’s the way it goes.
“He can compete at this level, there’s no worries there.”