Home favourite Terry Flanagan confident ahead of Jose Zepeda bout

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Terry Flanagan insists Jose Zepeda's fearsome reputation and knockout record do not scare him ahead of Saturday's world title fight.

The unbeaten Zepeda has stopped 20 of his 23 victims and takes on local hero Flanagan (27-0, 10 KOs) for the vacant WBO world lightweight title at the Manchester Velodrome on Saturday.

Only one of Californian Zepeda's previous nine opponents in the last two years has avoided being stopped inside three rounds.

Southpaw Flanagan, 26, is aiming to become Britain's 10th boxer to hold a world or world interim title and plans to take Zepeda (23-0, 20 KOs) to points to ensure he remains unbeaten.

"He's a good fighter and I can't see too many flaws, but the people he has taken out are not as good as me," Flanagan told ESPN. "Home advantage is important. It's going to be electric on the night and I would never have got it on points over there.

"The game plan is to win on points because he's a banger by his record. I've developed a bit as a puncher myself over the last year or so.

"He's only ever been eight rounds twice and it's different when you are in the ring on the night under the lights when it's hot and the crowd are going crazy. When he's lost a few and I've lost a few, it will come down to who wants it most."

Flanagan is the second of three British boxers to challenge for versions of the world lightweight title in the space of two months.

Londoner Kevin Mitchell's (39-3, 29 KOs) shot at WBC champion Jorge Linares (39-3, 26 KOs) ended in bloody defeat after 10 rounds in May while Flanagan's fellow Mancunian Anthony Crolla (29-4-2, 11 KOs) takes on Darleys Perez (32-1, 20 KOs) for the WBA belt on July 18.

Flanagan rates Linares more than Zepeda and says a world title unification fight with Crolla would be a dream come true.

"Linares is a good fighter and if you had said to me before who I would have preferred to fight, Zepeda or Linares, I would have picked Zepeda because he's not as experienced and is younger," Flanagan said.

"It would be a dream for both of me and Crolla to fight in a world title unification fight, but we've both got to come through hard fights first."