WBA World lightweight champion Richard Abril (19-3, 8KO’s) will defend his belt against Derry Matthews (36-9, 19KO’s) on March 6th in the challenger’s hometown at the Echo Arena in Liverpool, England.
Matthews had replaced Anthony Crolla (29-4, 11KO’s), who was set to take on the Cuban champion before an unfortunate incident that left him with a fractured skull and broken ankle. He attempted to thwart a burglary in process at the house next to his own. Now Matthews has been catapulted into the fray, and an unbelievable opportunity lies ahead of him. But despite his older challengers penchant for spectacular last-gasp victories, Richard Abril did not come across as if he is at all fazed in an article on boxnation.com/boxing.
“Mathews is a tough veteran and he is a smart fighter that pushes the pace… I rate him an 8 out of 10. He has a good jab, and good defence but I don’t think his chin will stand up to my punches.”
Abril would have been a champion two years sooner were it not for an outrageous decision in Brandon Rios’s favour when the two met in 2012. That night over twelve rounds, he positively tamed a younger version of Rios, who was on a confident wave earned in impressive performances. Rios maraud through tough opposition like Anthony Peterson, and Miguel Acosta (the Peterson win was via seventh round DQ but Peterson endeavoured to end the competition by illegal means having received a hiding). But the decision inexplicably went to Rios, leaving a dejected Abril to recollect himself and go again a year later.
He won the full regular WBA belt, having retained interim status following the loss, by beating Sharif Bogere before defending it for the first against Edis Tatli; both were 23-0 at the time.
It is this slowly expanding resume that gives Abril such confidence even when travelling away, something he did last time out in Finland too.
“I definitely cannot leave it to the judges so I will be looking for the KO. There is no way Mathews is taking my title. I am coming to Liverpool to knock him out, and I’m leaving with MY title.”
While Abril isn’t to be labelled as a ‘concussive’ puncher, his accuracy and punch selection could certainly be enough to unravel a veteran like Matthews. Matthews, who has been stopped inside the distance on several occasions, something Abril is certainly aware of.
“He has fought tough competition and has a lot of ring experience. I believe I’ve fought more world class fighters than him, but he’s going to need every round of experience on March 6. He is the one who has been KO’d 7 times in his career to my 0. He is the one who should be worried about his chin and my punching power.”
As strange as it seems when considering the fact that Matthews has once beaten and drawn with Crolla in their two encounters, Abril will probably be in for an easier night against his new opponent. Matthews is far more vulnerable to punishment than the compact Crolla. The instinctive nature he possesses that demands he fire back when under attack means he will be an ever-more inviting read for the studious style of Abril the longer the fight lasts.