Friday, May 9, 2014

Martin Gethin vs. Derry Mathews: Winner Takes All

By Peter Silkov

This Saturday night, May 10, will see an intriguing clash for the British lightweight championship, between defending champion Martin Gethin and challenger Derry Mathews, at the atmospheric Olympia arena in Liverpool, Merseyside. In an era filled with far too many superfluous titles, the British championship still holds a special place in boxing. This title has a prestige that comes from a deep and storied history, and physically, it is by far the most aesthetically impressive of all the many championship belts in boxing today. Hardly surprising, contests for a British championship often turn out to be classics, and Saturday’s meeting between Gethin and Mathews promises to be no different.

Both boxers have good skill levels, but usually prefer to turn their fights into physical brawls, with this taken into account and looking at both fighters styles, it seems almost impossible for this clash to be anything other than exciting,

Each man goes into this fight with something to prove. With  the domestic lightweight division  busting at the seams and the amount of talent that there is in the division at the moment, a win for either man will catapult him into the upper ratings of the division, and the promise of bigger fights in the future.  However, the loser will be relegated to the back of the queue; regarding the domestic pecking order of the division.

The stakes are high for both men in this match, each coming into it off a loss, and know that two losses in a row will represent a significant career setback. Gethin’s most recent outing was on May 31, 2013, when he was knocked out in the 7th round by Ammeth Diaz, in an IBF World lightweight title eliminator, while Mathews’ last fight on December 7, 2013, saw him losing on points to Stephen Ormond, for the WBO European lightweight championship. 

Although he is the defending British champion, Gethin is in some ways the division’s forgotten man, as fighters such as Anthony Crolla, Tommy Coyle, Kevin Mitchell, John Murray, Gavin Rees, Ricky Burns, and Mathews, have all enjoyed higher profiles recently than the current British champion has. 

‘Dirty’ Derry Mathews is one of the most popular and familiar faces at lightweight, with a colourful, up and down career, that stretches back to 2003, and has seen him score wins over Rees, Crolla, and Coyle amongst others. Mathews is the kind of fighter who entertains the fans; win, lose or draw, his fights are never dull, even if he is having a bad night.  During 2008 to 2010, Mathews’ career seemed to be all but over, after he lost 5 out of 8 fights, but he came back with some of his career best performances, to revitalise his career, and become a firm favourite with the fans.  

2013 was a kind of year that sums up Derry’s career, highs and lows, amidst constant drama, and action.  Mathews fought a controversial draw with Anthony Crolla in March, for the Commonwealth title, he then won the vacant Commonwealth title in July, when he came from behind to knockout Tommy Coyle in the 10th round.  Mathews then defended the Commonwealth title in September, with an impressive 4rd round knockout of Curtis Woodhouse (who has since gone on to win the British light-welterweight title) then came the December defeat to Stephen Ormand, in which Mathews broke his hand, and looked to be suffering the effects of a busy and punishing year. In March, while he was still recovering from having his injured hand operated on, Mathews suffered the added setback of being stripped of his Commonwealth lightweight title, when it was deemed that he would not be ready in time to defend against mandatory challenger, Richard Commey.  Ironically, Mathews’contest against Gethin on Saturday is a week before Commey fights Benjamin Ashley for the now vacant Commonwealth lightweight championship on May 17.

2014 has already given us a number of ‘fights of the year’ candidates at lightweight, with Gavin Rees vs. Gary Buckland, Anthony Crolla vs. John Murray, and Tommy Coyle vs. Daniel Brizuela.  Come Saturday, the chances are that there will be another classic fight to add to this list.  Both Mathews and Gethin have similar boxer-fighter styles and like to mix it up whenever possible. Mathews has an edge in skills and experience at the highest level, and the fact that he will be fighting in front of his own Liverpool crowd, will also be a distinct bonus for Mathews.

While Gethin will be looking to gain some recognition of his own by beating Mathews tomorrow, Mathews in turn, will be aiming to get his career back on track with a win over Gethin, which will get him closer to his dream of fighting for the world title before he retires. 

Derry Mathews has said that if he loses to Martin Gethin tomorrow he will probably retire from the sport, but Mathews should have too much experience and overall ability for Gethin, and should find himself a winner on points, or via a late round stoppage, in what is likely to be another colourful chapter in Derry Mathews ring history.


Copyright © 2014 The Boxing Glove, Inc. Peter Silkov Art. All Rights Reserved. Peter Silkov contributes to and

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