AND THE NEW...
Liverpool’s Derry Mathews snatched the British lightweight title from the grasp of former champion Anthony Crolla on Saturday night after the referee waved the fight off with four seconds remaining in the sixth. The victory ends a two-defeat streak for Mathews – the conquerer of a man who was unbeaten since 2009. The 28-year-old, in his second crack at a magnificent lightweight division, is now the proud holder of that coveted Lonsdale belt.
The build-up was all about Anthony Crolla of Manchester; the majority of fans and pundits all believed the 25-year-old would have been too much for Derry, but it wasn’t to be. Everybody, including Mathews knew this was his last chance – and by jove he took it.
The man nicknamed “Million Dollar,” Anthony Crolla walked out of his dressing room in Oldham Sports Centre to the late Whitney Houston’s “Million Dollar Bill” track, only after the challenger, Derry Mathews walked out of his dressing room and into the ring mouthing the lyrics of his walk out track “Take Care” by Drake & Rihanna.
The first round went according to plan for Crolla as he came out all guns blazing early and went out to end it. Mathews had a very low guard and was getting caught far too often by the snappy jab of Crolla. The man nicknamed “Dirty” weathered the storm and managed to see the round out, but the first most definitely belonged to the man from New Mostyn.
As the fight grew, Mathews began to take control as he won the second on sheer accuracy & from there on in, the Liverpudlian was firmly in the ascendency.
The third round was a definite winner for Mathews who saw Crolla on the seat of his pants midway through. Paul Smith Jnr., a gym-mate of Crolla, who was in the corner for him on Saturday along with trainer Joe Gallagher and another representative of Gallagher’s Gym, looked on horridly. Following the rattle, it was time for Crolla to kick the survival tactics into action to ensure he lasted the round. That was the case.
The fourth saw Mathews rock Crolla down to his boots once again. The 25-year-old was unsteady on his feet after Derry hit him with a big right hand but he didn’t go down lightly this time; he stood strong and continued to come forward. The round was stopped temporarily as it was discovered that Mathews had hit Crolla above the left eye and the corner were consulted. Their fighter continued, but the fight was once again halted as the referee John Keane called for the doctor to take a look at the wound. The doc allowed Crolla to see the round out and to recover.
Going into the fifth, Crolla came out looking for the knockout punch on Mathews. His head was clear and he was going all out for the win. The better work rate was coming from Crolla but Mathews was decisive in his attack. Anything Anthony had, Mathews blocked and then came back with an attack of his own – with pinpoint accuracy.
The sixth round proved to be the last. Mathews came out of his corner with a look of terror; he wanted to end it there and then. It happened. Mathews saw off Crolla with four seconds remaining of the sixth after a barrage of heavy blows. Crolla had an answer but the referee had seen enough after the Mancunian fighter was rocked again. John Kean waved the contest off and Mathews was given the title of “British lightweight champion.” It turned out that the underdog would prevail – against all expectations.
Where Derry goes from here, we’ll have to wait and see, but like he said in his Sky Sports post-fight interview, “This is the biggest stepping stone in the world.”
Derry Mathews is now 30-6-1 & Anthony Crolla, the man Derry defeated now has a record of 23-3-0.