Alan Dawson – London
The European ruler of the lightweight division, Gavin Rees, 32, added a Lonsdale belt to his honours roll as, on Saturday, July 7 at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, The Rock proved too hard, too tough and too powerful when he was thrown at challenger Derry Mathews. In an even battle for a number of rounds, Rees emerged on top when he closed the show in the ninth round, punctuating a 2012 British belter of a brawl.
Official verdict: Rees by way of 9Rd TKO.
Ignoring the calls of support for Mathews (30-7-1, 16ko) from the Motorpoint masses, Rees (37-1-1, 18ko) broke out of a tentative shell in the first minute of the opening session to hound on Dirty Derry with a dog-like aggression, hooking in short-range shots with abundance and causing light bleeding from the nose. That good work, though, was negated by a strong finish to the stanza from Mathews, who rocked Rees with a strong punch moments from the bell.
In round two, Rees continually struggled to find rhythm and often was seen swinging and missing and was caught with the well-placed straight right from the Liverpudlian. Those mistakes, though, appeared rectified by the third round and, in a turn of events, it was Mathews who showed vulnerability. Rees clocked his man with right fists over the top, stalking him, punishing him with shots to the body and trapping him against one of the two neutral corners. Derry, 28, rallied and, with blood spewing from the corner of his left eyebrow due to an accidental head clash, goaded Rees onto him and roused the crowd with his machismo.
While Rees sought to establish the classic one-two of an orthodox jab introducing the straight right, his lead shot was often found wanting. This was in stark contrast to Mathews who, in the fourth, boxed well off of his own jab. However, as the fight progressed to it’s midway stage, it became apparent that Rees could handle the power of Mathews but the same could not be said if those names were swapped, particularly when Gavin tucked his punches into Derry’s ribcage.
Like the third round, the sixth had moments of pure slobberknockery as both men threw with bad intentions, almost to the sacrifice of technique. Mathews’ ability to put his punches into bunches was on display in the seventh round, as he got through with crisp straights and sneaky uppercuts. That gusto prevailed into the eighth round and the work-rate confounded Rees, whose success was built on his one and two shots to the body and to Mathews’ worsening laceration. Mathews required saving by the ring bell as Rees’ onslaught and the sheer power within, hurt and damaged Derry and thus turned the round in his favour.
Showing a good finisher’s instinct, Rees secured a convincing stoppage in the ninth and ultimately final round via hooking leather into Mathews’ jaw. The concluding shots felled Mathews and had him slumped, arched over with his seat in the air and his face in the canvas. The gallant fighter managed to – somehow – make it to his feet by the count of nine but referee Howard Forster waved the bout off, awarding victory to Rees who added Mathews’ British lightweight belt to his EBU title at 135lbs.
Alan Dawson – London
There were two coronations at the Oldham Sports Centre in Lancashire, England on April 21 as Derry Mathews de-throned ex British lightweight champion Anthony Crolla and Jon Lewis Dickinson overcame Matty Askin for the English cruiserweight title. Crolla had no answer for all the chin-crunching uppercuts Mathews enforced and, while the stoppage was called for far too early, Derry was clearly in the ascendancy.
Official verdict: Mathews by sixth round TKO.
At the time of press, On The Beak dubbed Emiliano Marsili’s triumph over Derry Mathews a “massacre” but Dirty Derry rebounded this weekend with a donnybrooking technical knockout win, halting the rise of Mancunian lightweight Anthony Crolla.
Boxing in red, white and with a $ on his seat, Crolla took control of the centre of the ring, was the one taking the forward steps and executed a solid jab. His opponent Mathews – in blue and white – had a pleasing blue collar work-rate and thumped Crolla with multiple flurries. In the second round, Mathews stung Crolla with body blows before clinching onto his man and leaning down – a classic Klitschko trick – in order to deplete his opponent of energy.
At the beginning of the third, Crolla – who had never before been knocked down as an amateur or professional – suffered his first canvassing when Mathews rocked Crolla with a right upper counter. Million Dollar responded with machismo, fighting his way out of trouble rather than attempting to keep himself out of harm’s way and limiting Mathews’ gusto. The fist-swinging recklessness left both fighters open but it was Crolla who sustained a severe cut, in a problematic place; just below the eyebrow.
The difference between Crolla and Mathews was ultimately that of punch resistance as Mathews was able to absorb whatever Crolla threw at him – whether it was head or body – but, by the end of the fourth round, it was Crolla had been dropped and cut.
Fighting with a warrior’s instinct that has become typical for a Joe Gallagher product, Crolla engaged in warfare with Mathews. Both fighters picked their shots well but, while Crolla crouched and lingered on the inside, Mathews rattled his skull by unloading with power to each side of the brain-case.
Crolla’s defence abandoned him at the unfortunate moments when Mathews was piecing together brutally powerful combinations. When Crolla responded by dispatching heavy leather, Mathews would talk to his opponent during split-second respites. Crolla had the upper hand for a majority of the sixth round but, with less than 30 seconds left on the round clock, Mathews shook Crolla’s legs up with a head-bound left that backed the former champion onto the ropes. The consequent bombardment was enough to inspire the referee to intervene and stop Crolla – controversially – on his feet.
It was unfortunately what is commonly perceived to be a ‘British stoppage’. From referee John Keane, it came prematurely as there were just four seconds left till the minute’s break, it was only the head shot that hurt Crolla and the subsequent punches were either parried, avoided or not struck with the necessary venom to call an end to a fight that had been shaping up to be a fight of the year contender.
“I thought it could have been stopped earlier on,” said Mathews to Sky Sports One after the official announcement. “It’s the best [domestic] division out there with Ricky Burns and Kevin Mitchell but I want to make a defence of this [the Lonsdale belt].
“I was too strong [and to be British champion] I’m delighted,” he concluded.
Mathews rose to 30-6-1, 16ko while Crolla slumped to 23-3-0, 9ko.
Elsewhere on the card, one of Britain’s most promising prospects regardless of weight division – Matty Askin – was defeated for the first time in his career as the Central Area cruiserweight titlist failed in his attempt to add the English belt to his honours roll. He was unstuck by Jon Lewis Dickinson, a former champion of the popular Prizefighter franchise, who amassed a healthy lead on all three of the judges’ scorecards.
Official verdict: Dickinson by decision (97-93, 97-93, 98-93).
Trainer Bob Shannon will hope his pre-fight declaration that the match-up with Jon Lewis Dickinson will be a career-defining fight for his man, Matty Askin, will turn out to be a false prophecy as the popular Blackpool basher did not seem his usual powerful headhunting self and lost a ten round decision to the new English cruiserweight titlist.
From the off, Dickinson appeared the more comfortable as he unleashed effortless orthodox jabs and uppercuts. That is not to say Askin was substandard… no, when his staple power shots were called upon he was able to pierce Dickinson’s upright guard at times but for the duration of the bout this was the exception rather than the rule. And, in round two, Geordie Jon Lewis did the same to Askin’s shield – with a jab. Askin became over-reliant on the overhand right, perhaps looking to punish and even put Dickinson down early, which was to head coach Bob Shannon’s chagrin who reminded Matty between rounds he was not following their game-plan.
Askin began rounds well. In the fourth, for example, he came out the traps loading up on a chin-checking right hand as well as cracking the ribs with lefts. When Dickinson stepped inside, he’d be met with a stiff jab but as stanzas entered the second and third minutes, Dickinson took over and it was his second/third shots that were the more eye-catching and, troubling for Askin, the more damaging as he returned to his stool prior to the fifth with claret smeared over his upper lip, Monroe and his philtrum.
Dickinson’s success came down to only throwing solitary shots during in-fighting when he’d tuck a hook into the midsection. When boxing from mid-range, he’d throw in two and three punch combinations which boosted his shots landed statistic. The jab began his moves, he bossed the tempo, was oft the first to get his shots off and was cutting Askin up as a laceration opened below the Assassin’s eye in the fifth.
Dickinson’s shot selection was superior to Askin’s until moments in the eighth where, instead of looking to drop Dickinson with the overhand right, he’d pound Jon Lewis’ ribs with right hooks before sending uppercuts to the floorboards of his roof. Such was the one-sided nature of the fight, Askin had to seek a knockout in the ninth and tenth if he were to steal the victory, however, whilst he fought with intent and urgency in the final stanza – pummeling each side of Dickinson’s body – it was not enough to significantly hurt the 25-year-old from County Durham.
In a 50/50 fight, Dickinson’s triumph was not unlikely, but the ease in which he was able to outbox Askin will have surprised observers as the Birtley boxer added the vacant English cruiserweight title and a mandatory shot at Enzo Maccarinelli’s coveted British championship to his 2010 Prizefighter glory.
Askin was busier than Dickinson, but it was the latter who landed more often… 105 to Matty’s 67, ensuring the scoring of the bout was straight forward as Jon Lewis Dickinson saw his record move 11-2-0, 3ko while Askin suffered his first defeat and goes down to 13-1-0, 9ko.
Frank Maloney stated to Sky Sports One that victory over an erstwhile undefeated Askin was only the start of a global plan: “This guy is a fighter and he will be champion in Britain and the world in years to come.”
On The Beak – Admin
Matty Askin believes his strength will be too much for Jon Lewis Dickinson to handle in their cruiserweight contest on Saturday, April 21. The pair collide in a ten rounder for the vacant English championship and an eliminator for Enzo Maccarinelli’s British crown at Oldham Sports Centre. Their 50-50 battle is the chief supporting bout on the card topped by Anthony Crolla’s British lightweight title defence against Derry Mathews.
Unbeaten Askin, 23, said: “Dickinson is going to be awkward and try to nick rounds but he won’t be able to match me for speed and strength. He has some impressive wins, but how much willpower and determination will he have when I take it to him from round one?”
Blackpool’s Askin (13-0-0, 9ko) has been making daily three hour round trips from his home to Hatton Health and Fitness in Hyde sparring many rounds preparing for geordie Dickinson (10-2-0, 3ko).
He added: “I have sparred a ridiculous amount of rounds regularly working with ten to 12 rounds with three different lads. It was quality sparring and the lads I used were all ambitious and threw plenty of shots.”
Other contests on the card include: Stephen Foster Jr v Jose Antonio Elizabeth (6×3 super-featherweight), Jazza Dickins v Yuri Voronin (6×3 super-bantamweight), Lucas Browne v Paul Butlin (6×3 heavyweight), Adam Little v Chris Jenkinson (6×3 welterweight), Tommy Stubbs v Gavin Reid (4×3 bantamweight), Ryan Doyle v Selected Opponent (4×3 featherweight).
On The Beak – Admin
Anthony ‘Million Dollar’ Crolla has targeted winning a Lonsdale belt outright before becoming world lightweight champion. The popular Mancunian makes the second defence of his British crown against Derry Mathews (29-6-1, 15ko) at Oldham Sports Centre on Saturday, April 21. If Crolla (23-2-0, 9ko) beats his Liverpool rival he’ll be just one notch away from claiming the coveted belt for keeps.
Hatton Promotions star Crolla, 25, said: “The Lonsdale belt is my absolute pride and joy. It means the world to me and my family are so proud of it.
“To have one for keeps on the mantel piece means the world to me. I always said when I came into boxing it was my ambition to win a Lonsdale belt.
“I boxed on an amateur show when I was a kid and saw one. Ever since those it has been a target.”
Crolla knows the world title scene is wide open. The WBA belt is vacant and Scot Ricky Burns is among the other champions.
Anthony added: “I am not distracted by talk of world title fights because the fight I am preparing for is the most important. If the next one goes wrong against Mathews talk of European and world title fights down the line go out of the window.”
Other contests include: Jon Lewis Dickinson versus Matty Askin (10×3 cruiserweight), Stephen Foster Jr against Jose Antonio Elizabeth (6×3 super-featherweight), Jazza Dickins takes on Yuri Voronin (6×3 super-bantamweight), Lucas Brown will trade shots with Paul Butlin (6 rounds of heavyweight action), Adam Little and Chris Jenkinson get it on (6×3 welterweight), Tommy Stubbs versus Gavin Reid (4×3 bantamweight) and Ryan Doyle is up against a selected opponent (4×3 featherweight).
On The Beak – Admin
Gavin Rees‘ first defence of his EBU lightweight championship he picked up in June for a decisioning of Andy Murray ended in a fourth round technical draw at the Newport Leisure Centre in Wales on Saturday, October 1 as an accidental clash of heads left Derry Mathews with a broken nose. Rees was ahead 29-28 on all three judges’ scorecards at the time of the stoppage.
(Video embedded below credit – Youtube, Ksrbeat)