Flanagan vs Mathews – Promoter Frank Warren and his Queensberry Promotions are at Liverpool’s Echo Arena this Saturday night with a twelve fight boxing card headlined by the WBO World Lightweight title bout between champion Terry Flanagan and challenger Derry Mathews.
Flanagan is the undefeated (29-0) champion who is coming in a big favorite at the sport books. Flanagan is currently a -1165 favorite, with Mathews returning at +750. The bout is scheduled for twelve rounds, with the over/under at 8 1/2. Both over and under are returning -110 with the fight a few days away.
The fight was originally scheduled for February 13th, but Flanagan had tendinitis flare up in his foot and requested the postponement.
Nevertheless, Flanagan is one of the hot names in British boxing right now. He did not get a lot of credit for winning the vacant WBO World Lightweight title against Jose Zepeda. Zepeda entered the fight a perfect 23-0, but he would injure his shoulder in the second round and not be able to continue. The fight was in Flanagan’s hometown of Manchester, and it turned into a short night of work, but Flanagan emerged with something to prove.
Flanagan would return to defend the belt after only a few months off against Diego Magdaleno (28-1) one of a set of brothers that were being promoted by Top Rank. Magdaleno was more seasoned than Zepeda, and much more highly regarded heading into the fight. Flanagan put on a show, dropping Magdaleno three times to earn the stop with twenty two seconds left in the second round. It was the kind of emphatic win that Flanagan needed.
Many will consider Mathews a bit of a step back from Magdaleno but some of the very qualities that critics hold against him may be working in his favor. At 32 years old, Mathews is a bit shop-worn as he is entering his fiftieth fight (39-8-2). With that much experience, it is hard to believe that Mathews is going to bring anything new to the table, and Mathews has gone an up and down 18-9-2 since starting his career out 20-0.
Flanagan vs Mathews
But Mathews is on a four fight winning streak that saw him get into the world title picture in April of 2015 with a unanimous decision over Tony Luis that gave him the interim WBA World belt. He has stated to several media outlets that he considers this to be his last realistic shot at a world title. Mathews will be fighting in his hometown of Liverpool, an edge in his favor.
Mathews and Flanagan have tangled before, meeting in an October of 2012 three round match in the second round of a Prizefighter tourney. Flanagan won that one by unanimous decision, earning a count from the referee against Mathews in round two.
This event was also offering the UK debut of Cuba’s Super Bantamweight top gun Guillermo Rigondeaux (16-0) as he was scheduled to face James Dickens, but the fight fell through due to visa issues on the part of Rigondeaux.
Four bouts with regional belts provide the main support for Flanagan vs Mathews. Of particular interest is the WBO Inter-Continental title defense for undefeated Tommy Langford (15-0) as he faces Lewis Taylor (18-1-1).
South Africa’s hard punching Zolani Tete (22-3, 18 KOs) faces Mexico’s Jose Santos Gonzalez (22-3, 12 KOs) with the vacant IBF International title at bantamweight on the line. Currently, this is the only other fight besides the main event with a line at the books, and it sees Tete a massive -7000 favorite, with Gonzalez coming back at +3000.
A Middleweight six round bout is getting a lot of attention as Vijender Singh returns for his fourth professional fight. He is facing Alexander Horvath (5-1-1). Singh won a 2008 Olympic Bronze Medal in the middleweight division and he competed in three Olympiads representing India, where he is already a well known star. He waited until October of 2015 to make his pro debut and is already 30 years old, but is expected to draw new fans to the sport from the sizeable Indian community in England.
Check out a results video for this fight at The Boxing Channel