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23 OCTOBER 2014

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Mathews Shocks Crolla


By Andrew Wake at ringside: Derry Mathews proved once more that he’s a fighter who should never be written off when he grabbed the British lightweight title with a sixth round stoppage of Anthony Crolla in Oldham on Saturday night (21 April).

 

Without a win his last two contests, Mathews found himself in the proverbial last chance saloon prior to the start of the contest. However, he’ll be the toast of Merseyside tonight after putting in a display which underlines his place near the summit of the 9st 9lbs division.

 

In late 2009 Mathews was halted for the fourth time in five outings by Scott Lawton and elected to hand up his gloves at the age of just 26.

 

Despite comeback wins over Amir Unsworth and Stephen Jennings plus a technical draw with European ruler Gavin Rees, Mathews’ career looked to have hit a new all-time low when he was put away by Italian southpaw Emiliano Marsili inside seven rounds in January.

 

So it was far from surprising that most boxing experts were predicting a routine victory for an Anthony Crolla which had looked resurgent since moving to Joe Gallagher’s stable.

 

Mathews, though, hadn’t read the script and after dropping Crolla with a huge uppercut in the third closed the show with just three seconds remaining in round six.

 

Crolla had actually started the brighter of the two as he forced Mathews back with a relentless jab before switching his fists to the Scouser’s torso. A busted nose had given Mathews problems in previous outings and soon the champion’s accurate punching had blood dripping from it once more.

 

Everything appeared to be going exactly to plan for 25-year-old Crolla until early in the third when he found himself dumped onto his backside by a perfectly timed uppercut.

 

Prior to the fight Mathews had questioned Crolla’s ability to fight his way through a crisis, but the Mancunian proved his mettle by soaking up Mathews’ follow up onslaught before battling back until a sweet right near the end of the session had him tottering.

 

In round four things went from bad to worse for Crolla as a straight right hand opened up a nasty gash above his left eye. The blood ran profusely from the wound but after a quick inspection from the doctor in a neutral corner it was deemed ok for the action to continue.

 

The defending champion fought on courageously and even added to the swelling under Mathew’s right peeper. However, he was wide open to uppercuts and found himself eating them with increasing regularity.

 

With the fight slipping away from him Crolla mounted a big attack in the sixth, connecting with multiple hooks to the body, most of which visibly hurt Mathews. A whipped left, though, changed things as it sent Crolla staggering near the ropes and when Mathews landed another blow referee John Keane moved it.

 

It could be argued that the stoppage was a little premature, but Crolla had taken some heavy artillery throughout this fight of the year contender and the third man was merely looking after his best interests.

 

At 25 Crolla will come again, while Mathews has fired a sharp response to his critics and will surely now be looking for a return with the aforementioned Rees.

 

Birtley’s John Lewis Dickinson proved that often the best way to defeat a heavily favoured foe is to simply do the basics in the correct way.

 

Dickinson picked up the vacant English cruiserweight title and earned himself a shot at the British crown by outboxing Blackpool’s highly touted Matty Askin over ten action-packed sessions.

 

Like in the main event, the eventual loser was the one which enjoyed the better start. Askin, who was previously unbeaten in 13 paid outings, got off a fast right hand in the opener and although Dickinson fired back with a crisp jab, a solid uppercut to the jaw soon tuned things back in Askin’s favour.

 

What followed were several rounds in which Askin looked to load up with big hooks, while Dickinson had more success with subtle one-twos down the pipe.

 

Even we Askin’s hooks did manage to find the target early in round four, Dickinson merely smirked at him and dared him to try the same thing again.

 

Given the amount of effort he’d put into trying to land big single shots, it was no surprise that Askin’s workrate dropped in the middle rounds and Dickinson duly took advantage by snapping home his stick and right cross.

 

Already bleeding from the nose in round four, Askin was left nursing a nick on one of his cheeks in the sixth. This though did not discourage him from attempting to turn the tide in the seventh and his right hook began to land with a frequency not seen since the first stanza.

 

A decent eighth round also followed for Askin, but Dickinson reasserted his dominance in rounds nine and ten to ensure that victory was his.

 

One slightly amusing moment came when the bell sounded as Dickinson offered his hand to referee Phil Edwards because he’d not realised that three judges were in fact in charge of scoring things.

 

And those judges had it 98-93 and 97-93 (twice).


If there was an award for most impressive performance of the evening then that accolade would surely have gone to Scouse featherweight prospect James “Jazza” Dickens.

 

The 21-year-old southpaw looked sensational as he put experienced Ukrainian Yuri Voronin to the sword in four one-sided rounds.

 

Despite the fight being scheduled for six sessions, an inside the distance finish looked on the cards in the opening round.

 

Dickens, now 10 – 0 (4 KOs), snapped home his fast left hands in first and even though Voronin gritted his teeth and continued to move forwards, the end was nigh.

 

The fusillade continued in the second and in the third and Jazza showed his best move of the fight when he cleverly dropped his left shoulder before rocking Voronin’s head back with hellacious right hook.

 

The overdue ending came after 54 seconds of round number four. Dickens landed around five jarring punches to the visitors head and referee Alvin Finch jumped in.

 

If Dickens can boil down to super-bantamweight he might very well be mentioned in same breath of Messrs Munroe, Quigg and Frampton very shortly.

 

Another fighter putting his opponent away in four was Aussie heavyweight Lucas “Big Daddy” Browne.

 

The 6ft 5ins boxed patiently but still managed to send Melton Mowbray’s Paul Butlin to the canvas four times before the drubbing was waved off.

 

A heavy right hook to the side of the head forced Butlin to take a knee in the second, and even though Browne rocked him with the same blow twice more in the session, he seemed in no rush to close the show.

 

Butlin found himself on the ring apron twice more in the third, before a left followed by a short right sent him to the seat of his pants at 1.15 of the proceeding round.

 

Once again he managed to clamber back up, but with him now bleeding profusely from a laceration above his right eye, referee John Latham had a good look at him while conducting the mandatory eight count and then called time on the fight.

 

It was Browne’s 11th knockout from 12 paid contests.

 

Stephen Foster Jnr looked back to his best as he routinely defeated Nicaraguan import Miguel Aguilar over six sessions.

 

Foster Jnr, who is being lined up for a shot at British super-featherweight champion Gary Buckland, used a sharp double jab to set up a hefty right hook which sent Aguilar to the matt in the opener.

 

After that it seemed like a question of how long it would take the Salford fighter to finish his foe off.

 

Aguilar was hurt by a pair of overhand rights in the second and continued to eat shots in the third before being forced to the canvas once more in the fourth. A straight right to the solar plexus did the damage.

 

The Central American’s determination to cling on cost him a point in the fifth but by then it was academic. Steve Gray scored it 60 – 51.

 

Kirkham hope Adam Little came through the toughest test of his fledgling career by seeing off Bolton’s Chris “Twinny” Jenkinson over six rounds.

 

Little, who is trained by Ricky Hatton, landed fast punches in the opener and spun off Jenkinson before connecting well with both hands in the following two rounds.

 

However, Jenkinson really started to make things interesting in the fourth when he detonated a decent flurry before bloodying Little’s nose with a right hand.

 

Little, though, showed his growing maturity by calmly going back to basics with his jab before once more landing heavy overhand rights in the final stanza. Steve Gray scored it 60-55 from ringside while Mr Finch officiated.

 

Three-time ABA champion Tommy Stubbs returned to action after a lengthy lay off and pitched a 40-36 shutout over Redcar’s Gavin Reid.

 

Stubbs looked comfortable with his hands low and snapped out straight punches with both hands. Reid did have some moments of success but they were too few and far between to make any difference on the card of Mr Latham.

 

Another local boxer running out a 40-36 winner was Gorton’s Ray “Dangerous” Doyle.

 

The 20-year-old had looked sensational on his debut against Michael Stupart last month and he landed equally impressive punches in this tussle with Birmingham veteran Sid Razak.



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