Boxing - Clinical Mathews stops Woodhouse in four, wants Burns next

Martin Supple at ringside: In a fight billed as ‘War’, Commonwealth lightweight champion Derry Mathews defended his title with a fourth round knockout over Curtis Woodhouse at a packed Olympia in Liverpool. Mathews was expected to be a class above the challenger from Driffield and so it proved.

Boxing - Clinical Mathews stops Woodhouse in four, wants Burns next

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Clinical Mathews stops Woodhouse in four, wants Burns next

Woodhouse (9st 8lb 6oz), a former English light welterweight champion was facing a Mathews (9st 8lb 15oz) who has experienced all the highs and lows of professional boxing yet shows no signs of slowing down. Despite having suffered seven stoppage defeats in his professional career, Mathews is full of self-confidence and can hit. Both were on display in his last fight – the come from behind knockout of Tommy Coyle in July.  And those traits were again clearly evident against Woodhouse.

Woodhouse began by marching forward and trying to slam in hard body shots as Derry countered with straight fast punches through the middle. Mathews was content to find his range, pick his punches and wait for opportunities as the eager Woodhouse pressed. Mathews’ effective punch picking saw him win the opening rounds before he closed the show in round four. A left hook, right hand flattened Woodhouse, who somehow scrambled up onto his feet before his legs betrayed him and he stumbled into the ropes. Referee Mark Green was left with no alternative but to stop the fight after getting to the count of six. It was the wicked straight short right that did all the damage. Time was given as 1:14 in round four. ‘Dirty Derry’ progressed to 34-8-2 whereas Curtis, being billed as ‘The Trollhunter’ drops to 19-6-0.

Speaking in his dressing room post-fight, Derry explained: “I’m not sounding big headed but I knew I could make it the easiest night of my life with the left hook – right hand. That’s what we’ve been working on all camp and it paid off. We worked on landing the left hook against Coyle and I knew I’d knock him out with a left hook. Tonight the left hook – right hand worked against Curtis.”

Mathews also echoed the thoughts he gave on Sky Sports regarding his future plans: “I don’t understand how Anthony Crolla can get a shot at Ricky Burns ahead of me. In my opinion I’ve beaten Anthony Crolla twice, and he can’t even get past me why does he get a shot ahead of me?”

He explained that aside from winning the fight, his primary objective was to avoid being cut: “I’m getting married next week so this fight obviously helps the bank account! Realistically I’ll fight again in January or February. I want to get to 50 fights then I’ll be a happy man.”

In a light welterweight 4x3 match, Robbie Davies Jr (10st 2lb), another powerful puncher off the Scouse conveyor belt, scored his second professional win by stopping Josh Thorne (10st 1lb) in 2:09 of round one. Coming out of the blocks early, southpaw Davies dropped Thorne with a solid lead right hand. Although he rose, there was more trouble awaiting Thorne as Davies whacked in a left to the head followed by a sickening left to the liver which put Thorne down again. Thorne bravely got up at seven, but another hard right-left to the body saw Thorne sink to the floor once more and prompted referee Alvin Finch to end it. It was Thorne’s second defeat in three pro outings.

Liverpool’s Peter Spencer enjoyed a winning debut at light welterweight, taking a 39-38 four round points victory over Matt Seawright. Spencer (10st 6lb 2oz) looked to establish his jab early whilst avoiding the swinging punches coming from Seawright (10st 8lb 6oz). In round two, a solid straight right hand from Spencer dipped the legs of Seawright, although he came back well in the closing stages of the round. Spencer worked the body effectively, using the left hook to the head before doubling it downstairs. Both men sustained cuts in round three – Seawright above his left eye, and Spencer with a slice below his right eye. Seawright tried to force the action in round four, but the eye catching work was coming from debutant Spencer who deservedly picked up the win from referee John Latham. Seawright dropped to 5-82-5 in this, his 92nd fight.

The show opener just after 7pm saw Ryan Aston draw with Tyan Booth in a six round middleweight rematch. Dudley’s Aston (11st 7lb 14oz) will be glad to see the back of the Nottingham man as Booth (11st 8lb 4oz) proved a tricky customer he couldn’t quite work out. These two fought to a technical draw back in November last year (on the undercard to Carl Froch v Yusuf Mack) when a head clash left Aston cut and unable to continue. This was a genuine draw however, the 57-57 decision from referee John Latham matching my scorecard.

Booth confidently got behind the jab and found little difficulty in landing against the southpaw Aston. As Booth became more aggressive, Aston found him with a solid straight left in round two which made him think twice. At the end of the fourth round, it appeared that Booth thought it was the end of the fight as rather than walk back to his corner, he leant casually on the ropes. Trainer Dominic Ingle sat him down and whispered something in his ear. Whatever his motivation was for a fifth session, Booth landed a nice right uppercut and a follow up straight right which had Aston hanging on. There were numerous clinches and stumbles, and as Booth pointed out in a ringside interview with Sky the styles didn’t really gel. Aston now 10-1-2, whilst Booth moves to 11-10-3.

The venue has seen some sparse attendances at recent shows, but it demonstrates if the right matches are made, people will pay to see them. It created a terrific noisy atmosphere at ringside, a traditional boxing arena where even the fresh air outside smells of fags and booze. There was a nice touch at the beginning of the main televised portion of the card, where the recent passing of Ken Norton and Dean Powell was recognised by the ten bells accompanied by standing appplause. May they rest in peace.

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