Terry Flanagan beats Derry Mathews on points to retain WBO lightweight belt
By Andy Charles
Last Updated: 12/03/16 11:57pm
Terry Flanagan retained his WBO lightweight title with a unanimous points victory over a gritty Derry Mathews in Liverpool.
Flanagan, fighting on Mathews' territory at the Echo Arena, overcame a slow start before taking control of the fight in the second half and eventually securing a comfortable victory.
Both men found themselves on the canvas in the second round, although it was more down to WWE-style tactics than any punches that were landed.
Flanagan (30-0-KO12) was troubled in the fifth by two huge shots, and constant warnings from the referee appeared to bother him, as well as fire up the Mathews fans in the crowd.
But the champion began to take hold of the fight in the seventh, catching Mathews with a right hook, but his hopes were hit in the eighth when he had a point deducted for the use of a forearm.
Flanagan continued to push forward into the 10th and he was in control by the end of the 11th, with Mathews clearly in need of a knockout in the final three minutes.
That did not materialise and the judges scored the fight 115-112, 117-110, 117-110 in favour of 'Turbo', who was making a successful second defence of the title he won last year against Jose Zepeda.
He could now look to line up a unification fight against Anthony Crolla, should his fellow Mancunian succeed in his first defence against Venezuela's Ismael Barroso.
Earlier on the card, Paul Butler claimed the WBO International super-flyweight title with a ninth round stoppage of Mexican opponent Sebastian Sanchez.
Butler (21-1-KO12) dominated from just about the first bell, but Sanchez (12-2-KO9) proved tough to put away and was only stopped when hit with a punishing body shot just as a points decision seemed most likely for the man from Ellesmere Port.
Tommy Langford retained his unbeaten record with a unanimous points decision over Lewis Taylor.
Langford (16-0-KO5) earned a 118-110, 118-111, 118-111 verdict over Taylor, who grew into the fight too late to deny the reigning WBO Inter-Continental, and new Commonwealth, middleweight champion.
And Indian hope Vijender Singh (4-0-KO4) continued his unbeaten start in the professional ranks with a third round stoppage of Hungary's Alexander Horvath.
Singh, who could take his talents back home for his next fight, caught Horvath with a heavy body shot and he was unable to beat the referee's count.