Derry Mathews insists the power in British boxing has shifted from Manchester to Liverpool – and he will prove that by beating Anthony Crolla again in Betfair’s ‘No Retreat, No Surrender’ live on Sky Sports from the Echo Arena in Liverpool on March 30.
Mathews ripped the British lightweight title from Crolla in the 2012 fight of the year with a sixth round stoppage in Oldham in April. The Liverpool man welcomes the Manchester star into his backyard as they clash for the vacant Commonwealth title, and after seeing ‘Million Dollar’ off in hostile surroundings, the 29 year old is ready for the tables to be turned on a huge night of boxing on Merseyside.
“I would say Liverpool is the city to be fighting from now,” said Mathews. “It goes in circles and I am lucky to have been around long enough for it to come around twice.
“You only need to look at Manchester in its prime; Ricky Hatton, Anthony Farnell, Michael Gomez, Stevie Bell, Michael Brodie and Matthew Macklin was fighting out of Manchester. Now it has changed. We have Tony Bellew, David Price, me, Jazza Dickens, the Smith brothers, and Thomas Stalker has turned over – it’s all happening in Liverpool and it’s brilliant to be a big part of that.
“Everybody says that when the bell goes you are on your own and that is right. I like to fight away but this time I am at home and I think it will be a massive boost. I have boxed at the Echo Arena once before and I was beaten by a very bad decision so I want to make that right. I am really looking forward to it, it’s the best boxing show Liverpool has had and hopefully I’ll get a really good reception and they give Anthony a terrible time like I got in Lancashire.”
Crolla bounced back from defeat to Mathews and a semi-final loss to Gary Sykes in the Betfair Prizefighter Lightweights II with a commanding victory over Kieran Farrell to claim the English title and the 26 year old is prepared to enter the lion’s den and get his own back on the popular Scouser.
“I would be lying if I said revenge wasn’t on my mind, there would be nothing sweeter than beating Derry,” said Crolla. “I am not getting hung up on the fight too much, I have watched it countless times and I will probably have watched it another hundred times by the time the fight comes. I know that fight well and I know what mistakes I made and I know what I have to correct.”
“I won’t get the best reception on the night but that is something I am going to thrive off and am going to bring great support with me. The amount of people who have come to me for tickets has been unreal; I have been taken back by it all. A lot of my best performances have been in my opponents’ back yard and this will be another one of those I hope.”
Mathews and Crolla provide the chief support to Tony Bellew’s WBC light heavyweight World title eliminator against Isaac Chilemba. Rocky Fielding defends his English super middleweight title against Wayne Reed, unbeaten Liverpool starlet Jazza Dickens will face Jon Fernandes for the vacant English super bantamweight title, Team GB captain Thomas Stalker boxes in his hometown for the first time as a pro after his debut in east London on Saturday, while fellow former Team GB members Callum Smith and Scotty Cardle continue their pro journeys.
Tickets for Betfair’s ‘No Retreat, No Surrender’ at the Liverpool Echo Arena on March 30 are on sale now priced £30, £40 and £60 from the Echo Arena on 0844 8000 400 and www.echoarena.com. £100 ringside and £150 VIP tickets are available from Matchroom Boxing on 01277 359900 and atwww.matchroomboxing.com.