By Terence Dooley
Derry Mathews and Emilano Marsili vie for the vacant IBO lightweight title later tonight. The bout takes place at Liverpool’s atmospheric Olympia venue and will be televised live by BoxNation, Sky channel 456, here in the UK. Vaughan Promotions have put together a massive bill and hope to usher in their first world champion, of sorts, to kick off their 2012 campaign.
Mathews suffered a horrendous nose injury when challenging for Gavin Rees’s EBU belt on October 1st, the Liverpudlian was pulled out by the ringside doctor and the fight declared a technical draw. The 28-year-old hopes to bounce back in style by handing Marsili his first defeat.
Marsili holds a 23-0-1 (9) record and is starting to punch with authority, four of his stoppage wins coming in his last six outings, plus his three most recent opponents held winning records. However the 35-year-old does not have time on his side and lacks Derry’s title experience, these could be key factors if the bout goes beyond the early rounds.
Derry, 29-5-1 (15), has set his sights on a rematch with Rees, he also wants to tackle the top domestic names, with WBO interim holder Ricky Burns his main target. “I’m delighted to say I’ve sparred with Ricky, he’s a great fighter and proved everyone wrong on what he’s done in his career,” said Mathews when speaking to Shaun Brown over at Livefight.com.
“And I’m delighted to be mentioned in the same breath of air as him and that I could be fighting him one day because he’s a good fighter and a true gent as well. We’ve got some of the best lightweights ever, I think, in this country at the moment. It’s a good weight division with big fights out there but I’ll take it one fight at a time. I’m good friends with Ricky and Billy [Nelson] but if I was offered that opportunity I’d take it with both hands.”
For now, though, Mathews has to ease past Marsili; although the Lazio-based southpaw will hope to make an impression of his own by upsetting the local favourite.
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