31 July 2011

Derry Mathews

In the all Liverpool lightweight derby battle Derry Mathews stopped Stephen Jennings in round six on Saturday night, at the Greenbank Leisure Centre in Liverpool, to win the vacant British Masters lightweight strap.

Mathews, briefly retired from boxing in 2009, before returning the following year with a new found vigour and hunger for the game. Having dealt with personal ups and downs and finding himself in a better place, he is now experiencing his Halcyon Days has a fighter under the charge of new trainer Oliver Harrison.

‘Dirty’ Derry claimed his 5th career belt by beating Jennings and adds the British Masters lightweight title to that of his previous achievements of the English featherweight title, WBU featherweight belt, International lightweight title and he is also the current lightweight champion of England.

Since his ring return in July last year Derry has accumulated 9 wins and just one defeat, that loss was to Gary Buckland in the Prizefighter super featherweight final. But at lightweight the scouser seems to have found his comfort zone and looks much more adapt to the division, stronger and more durable he appears.

Since his return he has also avenged two defeats from earlier in his career against Scott Lawton and Choi Tseveenpurev, the latter in the Prizefighter tournament. Mathews is also showing the power at lightweight with his last 3 wins coming by knockout, 2 in the first round.

Matthews 27, was lined up to meet Gavin Rees this same month for the Welshman’s European title, but Rees suffered an hand injury in training and withdrew. The fight with Jennings to settle local bragging rights was arranged and Mathews put his disappointments of the Rees fight cancellation to get himself mentally ready to take on his local rival in what could have been a potential banana skin.

But the now seasoned Mathews entered the fight in positive mood and administered a professional performance to break the brave Jennings down, before finishing his man in style at the half way point of the scrap.

Jennings burst from the blocks at the start of the fight and looked like he wanted to hurt his rival early. But Mathews, covered up well kept his composure and was able to time Jennings coming in with smart right hand counters. The quick start had the crowd bouncing and the fight was looking like living up to the pre-fight hype.

Mathews began to work his opponent out early and although under constant pressure from Jennings, eventually got behind a commanding jab, that was being pushed into Jennings face, but he just wouldn’t stop coming forward, bravely walking through Mathews shots and landing his own decent blows, that Derry soaked up.

In the third Mathews landed drew blood from Jennings nose with a good uppercut and was now looking like he was ready to take control of his lesser experienced opponent and the fight. It proved that way when in the fourth round when Mathews hurt his man with a stiff jab and straight right. Jennings retreated back and Mathews knew he had his man and without rushing in picked his shots well and moved in to drop Jennings who was now looking all but spent. Fortunately for him the bell sounded to end the round and give him a minutes rest bite to try and regain his senses.

Jennings 27, came out in the fifth and again pushed Mathews back, but the English champion, now relaxed and in control, belted his foe with a big left hook that again had Jennings down and on the way out. He again rose to his feet, roared on by his fans and to his credit wanted to fight on. Matthews was deducted a point in the round for hitting behind the head, but it was just a formality now and he again went after Jennings and the finish. A big left had Jennings over again and as previously the bell sounded to his relief, but the end now seemed nigh.

And so it was when in round six, but not before the tough Jennings gave it one last go, catching Mathews with his own uppercut. But it was only now a matter of when and that when happened at 2.50 of the session. While trading Mathews thudded a neat combination off which sickened Jennings again and backed him to the ropes. The ref was on standby and Mathews left no doubt, as he pounced on his wounded prey to force the official to end proceedings, just as the towel was thrown in by Jennings corner.

Mathews will now get ready to face Gavin Rees in the next chapter of his boxing revival and on this form will give the former world champion something to think about.

Derry is our British boxer of the week!

Chris Maylett

Derry Mathews post fight interview with Jane Couch

Undercard results
Dale Hutchinson won via KO2 v Terry Needham at welterweight
Kevin Satchell won via points 4 v Delroy Spencer at super bantamweight
Joe Tonks won via points 6 v Robin Deakin at light welterweight
Adnan Amar won via points 4 v Matt Seawright at middleweight
James Dickens won via points 4 v Chuck Jones at featherweight
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