Bellew vs Flores: Luke Campbell stops Derry Mathews to retain WBC Silver lightweight title
By Matt Horan
Last Updated: 16/10/16 12:24am
Luke Campbell retained his WBC Silver lightweight title with a fourth round stoppage of Derry Mathews in Liverpool.
In what was dubbed as a fascinating battle between a boxer and puncher, it was the boxer in Campbell (15-1-KO11) who found the early finish and edged himself closer to a world title.
Mathews came into the fight the far more experienced of the two, having had 50 pro bouts, while Campbell boasted a great amateur pedigree which included a gold medal at the 2012 Olympics.
The current Commonwealth champion proved too quick and skilled for the local favourite and it was a succession of brutal left hooks to the body in the fourth that had Mathews in agony on the canvas.
Campbell, 29, was met by boos as he made his way to the Echo Arena ring, while Mathews got a heroes welcome in his backyard, but it did little to change the outcome of the contest.
The fight started off tentatively and neither fighter really let their hands go in the first, as they both got used to the heated atmosphere.
In the second, the fight started to boil nicely and both fighters fired heavy shots to the body, but it was Campbell who began to take the initiative behind his southpaw stance.
His speed and movement were causing Mathews, 33, problems and he cut the nose of the Liverpool fighter late on in the round.
Mathews tried to entice 'Cool Hand' into a fight and marched forward, but Campbell was smart and often made him miss while landing his own sharp counters.
'Dirty' did hit the canvas towards the end of the third round and although replays showed that it was more of a slip, the referee still called it a knockdown.
The end came in the fourth and it was a number of fierce left hooks to the body that had Mathews on the floor with a picture of pain on his face.
The Liverpool man bit down on his gumshield and found his last reserves to come back out firing, but in doing so Campbell found a swift counter that ended the contest.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the fight, Campbell said: "I'm very happy, I knew this would be my toughest test. He's a warrior - I don't know how he got up from the first shot. I was praying he wouldn't.
"I look for every shot, whatever lands. Derry is a big, strong lightweight with a lot of experience - he's been in the trenches. My game-plan was to out-box him for a points win.
"I could really feel what was in his gloves."