Angel With a ‘Dirty’ Face

Rumours are rife that ‘Dirty’ Derry Matthews could be in line to benefit from Anthony Crolla’s recent misfortune (Crolla suffered a fractured skull when attacked with a concrete slab whilst attempting to apprehend two burglars) and land a fight with current WBA lightweight world title holder, Richar Abril.

Matthews promoters have a show scheduled in Liverpool’s Echo arena this coming March with Paul Butler looking set to headline however, if the rumours are true then Abril v Matthews will most definitely be the main attraction on the night – that being said, Derry’s fans would make any fight that he is in the main attraction… he shifts a serious amount of tickets to some of most vocal people in Liverpool.

Derry has taken to social media to converse with fans about the upcoming bout and has stated it will be a ‘massive fight… the biggest of my life’ although he has kept tight lipped about who the opponent will be. As Mathews has already contested for the almost all other professional honours, including: English, British, Commonwealth, European, international/intercontinental and two fringe world titles, it is no surprise that rumours are free flowing about him taking step up and landing a shot at Abril’s title.

Matthews has a top 15 ranking with the WBA and Abril doesn’t have an opponent and is willing to travel which is why I would be extremely surprised if this fight isn’t made. And what’s more, who could argue with it? Derry has a few blotches on his record however, even in defeat he generally produces a showcase of heart, determination and endeavour.

The man known as ‘Dirty’ is one of boxing’s nice guys – he owns his own boxing gym and ABC where he promotes keeping kids off the streets and the impotence of staying on the straight and narrow, using boxing as a motivational driver for deprived kids to learn discipline and dedication.

He will often give away personal items of his training kit to people who attend his gym if they may be missing a head guard or sparring gloves etc and recently offered to open up his gym for the homeless to make use of the facilities to shower and shave as well as often donating items for auction for charities.

There are no airs nor graces about Derry, he talks in a very matter of fact manner and always conducts himself, whether win, lose or draw, with dignity and in a way which is synonymous with the people of Liverpool – which is likely why he has such a big fan base.

It would be fantastic if Frank Warren gets out his chequebook and was able to land this bout as Derry deserves the opportunity as a fighter and as a man.

The biggest thing to mention in this post is that Derry has every chance of winning the fight – I don’t believe he will just be in there to make up the numbers. I mentioned in a column a few weeks back (pre Crolla’s injury) that Crolla had very little chance of beating Abril however, styles make fights and Derry is more suited to Abril than Crolla was.

This is not a criticism of Crolla, merely a stylistic comparison – Abril is technically gifted, he schooled and was robbed in a bout with a prime Brandon Rios a couple of years ago, so it is plain to see how difficult of a fight this will also be for Derry however, the difference being: Derry’s boxing skills are very underrated. Now, I’m not saying that Derry’s boxing skills alone will win him the fight but what they will do is enable him to close down Abril and restrict his movement. If Derry can do this then he carries more than enough power and variety to cause Abril massive problems which is precisely what Crolla doesn’t have.

IF this fight is made something that cannot be underestimated is the face on Paul Smith when he hears the news.