By David P. Greisman
Echo Arena, Liverpool, Merseyside - It looks like we’ll be seeing a third bout between British lightweights Derry Mathews and Anthony Crolla.
Their first meeting came last April, with Mathews stopping Crolla in six rounds in what was described by many as an entertaining scrap. Their rematch went twice as long but proved inconclusive, with the judges handing down a split draw.
The scorecards were 115-113 for Mathews, 115-113 for Crolla and an even 115-115.
Crolla started off exchanging less and moving more, though he was neither throwing nor landing enough to win the early rounds. But Crolla picked up the pace in the third, jumping in and throwing three-punch combinations before stepping back out of range.
Given his technical knockout loss last year, Crolla likely didn’t want to stay in range too long, and Mathews didn’t necessarily want to give his opponent a chance to potshot him from far away. So Mathews continued to come forward, working behind a jab and activity, limiting Crolla to single shots.
Crolla wasn’t giving in, though; his opportunities would come, and his investment in body shots would pay off. Mathews did land a clean right in the ninth, which might have been his best shot of the night. Crolla smiled at the punch and returned fire.
As the bout entered the championship rounds, it was Crolla who had more energy and Mathews who had to handle his aggression, absorbing volleys of body shots in the process.
Before the final round, Crolla’s corner repeatedly told him, “We need this round,” and then reminded him, “A year, you’ve waited for this.” Crolla responded to the pep talk and appeared to take the final stanza — saving him from a narrow defeat.
Mathews, 29, of Liverpool, United Kingdom, is now 32-8-2 with 17 knockouts. Crolla, 26, of Manchester, United Kingdom, is now 25-4-1 with 9 knockouts.
Anthony Crolla's efforts to avenge last year's knockout defeat against Derry Matthews fell just short as the two fought to a split decision draw in their rematch Saturday.
Scores were 115-113 Crolla, 115-113 Matthews and 115-115 even.
Thomas Stalker, a British boxer who made it to the quarterfinals in the 2012 Olympics, hasn’t exactly exemplified excellent so far in his pro career, but the junior welterweight remained undefeated with a points victory over Andrew Harris.
The referee scored the bout 40-37.
Harris, who came in on short notice, has never won a pro bout but had never been stopped before either. Stalker, meanwhile, has gone the distance now in both of his pro wins; his debut in February saw him take a points win over Kristian Laight, an experienced designated opponent whose record going into the bout was 7-139-6, according to BoxRec.com.
Stalker’s win over Harris brings the 28-year-old from Liverpool, United Kingdom, to 2-0 with zero knockouts. Harris, 30, from Gloucester, United Kingdom, is now 0-4.
Super middleweight prospect Rocky Fielding beat Wayne Reed via sixth-round technical knockout, hurting Reed early, downing him three times and ultimately scoring the stoppage.
Fielding had Reed on the ropes, proverbially and literally, halfway through the first. Reed steadied himself and continued to come forward. Fielding’s range and offense proved to be superior, though. Fielding put Reed down once in the fourth, back to the canvas again early in the sixth after a left hook to the body and an uppercut, and to the mat once more in that stanza after another hook to the body.
Reed rose from that final flooring, but the referee waved the bout off.
Fielding, 25, of Warrington, United Kingdom, is now 13-0 (7 KOs). Reed, 25, of Sheffield, United Kingdom, is now 10-6 (5 KOs).
Bantamweight Kal Yafai (8-0, 6KOs) won an eight round decision over Michael Ramabeletsa (8-10). The sole score was 79-73.
Callum Smith (4-0, 2KOs) demolished Lain Jackson (3-12) in the first round of their super middleweight clash.
Jazza Dickens (14-0, 5KOs) won a ten round unanimous decision over Jon Fernandes (10-1) to win the vacant British super bantamweight title. Fernandes was down in the first round. The scores were 99-91, 99-91 and 99-92.
Middleweight prospect Christoher Perry-Matcalf (2-0, 1KO) won a four decision over Liam Griffiths (2-25-1). The sole score was 40-36.