A fantastic night of boxing in Liverpool culminated in Terry Flanagan (30-0, 12KOs) retaining his WBO lightweight world title with a unanimous decision points victory against former interim titlist Derry Mathews (38-10-2, 20KOs).
In a fight which started with lots of bad blood between two opposing sets of fans in the Arena, the main event delivered a fight which kept everybody entertained from first minute until last.
Whilst Mathews exhibited a fast straight right hand and good movement in the first quarter of the fight, Flanagan kept in control with a strong jab and straight left hands to the body. That body work was to pay dividends as the fight progressed as the pace slowly got to Mathews shortly after the middle rounds.
Manchester’s Flanagan was penalized for excessive use of the forearm with a point deduction before the championship rounds, although many felt it should have come much earlier. The foul play persisted with low blows, head work and more forearms, but the champion never received a further warning from referee Phil Edwards.
Mathews gained success when maneuvering his opponent into the corners and onto the ropes, but more often than not was a little too tentative letting the big shots go which could have hurt Flanagan.
From the tenth round on, the crowd grew restless as it became clear their hometown favourite would need a knockout to prevail against the odds – unfortunately it was not to come.
A strong performance in his 50th career fight from Derry Mathews this evening and he can hold his head high; nobody can doubt his heart or determination to the cause, Flanagan was just better on the night.
Unanimous decision scorecards of 117-110, 115-112 and 117-110 were delivered by judges ringside, declaring Flanagan was to take his title back to neighbouring city Manchester.
The Champion could soon find himself mandated to defend his title against upcoming Puerto Rican star Felix Verdejo in the fall.