Undefeated Terry Flanagan retained his WBO World lightweight title with a 12-round unanimous decision over Derry Mathews at Liverpool’s Echo Arena. Mathews was fighting on his home turf, but wasn’t able to wrest away Flanagan’s title despite having several good moments. The scorecards read 117-110 twice and 115-112. Flanagan, who was warned numerous times for various infractions, had a point deducted from his score in Round 8. There were no knockdowns.
Flanagan, a southpaw, was six years younger than his 32-year-old adversary, and simply the better fighter. This was likely the last big money fight for Mathews (now 38-10-2), an honest workman with a limited future. As for Terry Flanagan, now 30-0, he has a potential unification fight in his future with recently crowned WBA lightweight champ Anthony Crolla, a fellow Mancunian. That’s assuming that Crolla (30-4-3) repels the challenge of Venezuela’s Ismael Barroso (19-0-2). Crolla is scheduled to defend his belt against Barroso in Manchester on May 7.
There were several other bouts of note on the Liverpool show, a Frank Warren production:
South Africa’s Zolani Tete won something called the vacant IBF International bantamweight title with a 7th-round stoppage of Mexico’s Jose Santos Gonzalez. It was an impressive showing by Tete who advanced to 23-3 (19 KOs). The game, but outclassed Gonzalez declined to 22-4 while suffering his first loss inside the distance.
In an all-Britain affair, Tommy Langford won the vacant Commonwealth (British Empire) middleweight title with a 12-round unanimous decision over Lewis Taylor. Langford, now 16-0 (5 KOs) won by 7 points on two of the scorecards and by 8 points on the other, but the match was yet entertaining. Taylor, who declined to 18-2-1 (3 KOs), cranked up his work rate in the last few rounds and the crowd appreciated his effort, according the battlers a standing ovation at the final bell.
England’s Paul Butler improved to 21-1 (12 KOs) with a 9th-round stoppage of Mexico’s Sebastian Sanchez (12-2) in a match billed for the vacant WBO International super flyweight title. Butler had a big edge in height and reach and was able to use his jab effectively. A powerful left hook to the body brought the bout to a conclusion. A possible bout for Butler down the road is a rematch with the aforementioned Zolani Tete who saddled him with his only defeat.
Ryan Farrag KO 2 vs. Stefan Slavchev in an 8-round bantamweight contest
Vijender Singh KO 3 vs. Alexander Horvath in a 6-round middleweight contest
Zelfa Barrett W Dec. 6 Damian Lawniczak (lightweights)
Lynn Woodstock W Dec. 4 Ibrar Riya (super featherweights)