Flanagan faces Mathews in Liverpool lightweight title defence
Lee Gormley | March 11, 2016
Terry Flanagan v Derry Mathews
- WBO lightweight title fight
- Saturday, March 12th
- Scheduled for: 21:00 GMT
- Echo Arena, Liverpool
- Live on BoxNation
Manchester’s Flanagan meets Mathews
Manchester’s Terry Flanagan defends his WBO lightweight title against Liverpudlian challenger Derry Mathews this Saturday night, at what is set to be a hostile Echo Arena on Merseyside for the reigning champion.
The 26-year-old has already made one successful defence of his WBO crown on home soil last year, as he emphatically stopped Mexican-American Diego Magdaleno inside just two rounds and ‘Turbo’ is gunning for another strong showing on his travels to Liverpool.
Flanagan (29-0, 12 KOs) will enter the ring as the heavy favourite to retain his lightweight strap, and is 11/2 with Coral to end proceedings within rounds 1-3 for a third successive fight, having also knocked out Jose Zepeda in the second to clinch his WBO belt last July.
“Derry is kidding himself if he thinks he’s getting his hands on my world title,” declared Flanagan.
‘Turbo’ out to prove lightweight worth
“I’m fitter, faster and stronger than last time we met. I’ve got too much for Derry to handle and there’s no way he’ll stand up to my big punches. I’m the younger and hungrier fighter and on the night I’ll be too quick for him.”
Many regard Venezuelan Jorge Linares as the world’s best lightweight, but Manchester’s clinical southpaw is out to prove he’s the man to beat at 135 pounds.
“I think I’m the best lightweight in the world but it’s for you to judge,” continued the undefeated champion, who is 5/2 to prevail on points.
“Obviously I can’t look past Derry but when I come through Saturday they’re the kind of fights I want to prove that I’m the best.”
Mathews promises proper dust-up
Home hope Mathews (38-9-2, 20 KOs) will have the majority backing of the Liverpool crowd on Saturday night, and the 32-year-old is 6/1 to stop Flanagan in front of his home supporters, in what he promises to be a much more entertaining fight than Carl Frampton’s recent win over Scott Quigg.
“The Frampton-Quigg fight would have put a glass eye to sleep and it was a terrible fight,” Mathews stated.
“But we will give everyone value for money, whether they are there in the arena or watching on TV. It will be a proper dust-up, with no dancing around avoiding each other.”
Mathews won the interim WBA lightweight title with a unanimous decision triumph over Tony Luis last April, and boasts a 2012 victory over the organisation’s fully recognised champion Anthony Crolla, with the Merseysider confident of clinching the WBO belt this weekend.
“If he wants to scrap, I will scrap. If he wants to box, I will box. Terry always starts fast so I have to make sure I adapt. It’s my 50th professional fight and it’s a massive bonus that it is in my home city,” added Mathews.
Crolla awaiting winner?
Both fighters’ promoter Frank Warren has added another potential incentive for this awaited contest, claiming he has offered Crolla £500k to fight the winner in a unification meeting, as Flanagan and Mathews get ready to go to war in Liverpool.
“We’ve offered Anthony £500k to fight the winner and that offer still stands,” declared Warren.
“It’s a real hotbed up here at the moment in this division so let’s find out who the best fighter is in the Northwest. It’s a big pay day for the Anthony and the winner of this fight so let’s get it on.”
Cuban star Guillermo Rigondeaux was set to take to the Liverpool canvas on the undercard this weekend, but a bizarre visa problem has saw his scheduled bout with James Dickens cancelled, though Tommy Langford is 5/1 to stop Lewis Taylor in rounds 4-6 in their match-up.
Meanwhile, in America, David Lemieux is 9/1 to face a shock loss at the hands of James De la Rosa, though the Canadian is odds-on 2/9 to stop his opponent and bounce back from his defeat to middleweight monster Gennady Golovkin last year.