Las Vegas’ Diego Magdaleno savors WBO title shot against Flanagan

When Diego Magdaleno left Pat and Dawn Barry in August 2013 to be managed by Frank Espinoza and trained by Joel Diaz, it was with today in mind.

The Las Vegas lightweight wanted another opportunity to fight for a world title after he came up short against World Boxing Organization super featherweight champ Roman “Rocky” Martinez in April 2013. Magdaleno moved up in weight, won his fights and gets his shot to claim a title when he faces WBO lightweight champ Terry Flanagan in Flanagan’s hometown of Manchester, England.

Tonight’s 12-round title bout will be televised on the BeIN network and is scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. But Magdaleno isn’t worried about fighting Flanagan in his backyard. To him, it’s about coming home with the belt.

“Preparing for this title has been great,” said Magdaleno (28-1, 12 knockouts). “All the hard work has been done in the gym; now it’s time for me to get what’s mine.

“My sights have been narrowed in on this world title, and I feel very confident in myself and team.”

Diaz liked the way Magdaleno prepared for the opportunity.

“Diego is physically and mentally prepared for this fight,” Diaz said. “He knows this could be his last opportunity for the title, and he’s going to take full advantage of it.

“Training has been tough but great. He’s not leaving anything behind. He had great sparring, his weight is good, he feels strong and he’s hitting harder than ever.”

Diaz, who parted ways with WBO welterweight champ Timothy Bradley at the end of August, has been able to turn his attention to getting Magdaleno ready. Magdaleno noticed the difference in his preparation for Flanagan (28-0, 11 KOs).

“His energy in he gym has been amazing,” Magdaleno said. “I’ve been his sole focus, and I don’t think I’ve ever been better prepared for a fight.”

He’ll need to be. Going into a champion’s backyard and winning a decision is arguably the hardest thing to do in boxing. Sketchy judging and officiating always could be a factor.

“I don’t mind it,” Magdaleno said. “It gets me out of my comfort zone. I’ve been traveling for most of my recent fights — California. Texas. I fought Rocky Martinez in China. So going halfway across the world shouldn’t be a problem.

“Joel took Tim to England when he beat Junior Witter, so I know it can be done.”

Magdaleno knows he has to take the fight to the champion, and he believes his game plan will prove successful.

“I’m prepared to leave it all in the ring on fight night,” he said. “All of my years of training has led me here.”

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow him on Twitter: @stevecarprj.

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