By Phil D. Jay
Undefeated Italian Emiliano Marsili (24-0-1, 10KOs) is the new IBO lightweight champion after a brutal battle with home fighter Derry Mathews (29-6-1, 15KOs) at the Olympia in Liverpool.
The 36 year-old, who had just one draw in 24 previous contests, stopped the former WBU featherweight champion in seven rounds to claim his first world title in a toe-to-toe scrap on Merseyside.
Mathews, 28, went into the bout on the back of a draw with European title holder Gavin Rees, in which he broke his nose after a headbutt and it wasn’t long before the nose injury reoccurred, hampering him for the rest of the fight.
A blistering start by Marsili had left Mathews bewildered and it wasn’t until the third round that the Liverpudlian realized that he was in trouble. Mathews got off with a couple of flurries but didn’t discourage Marsili from coming forward at every opportunity.
Every shot from Marsili that hit Mathews’ nose was met with not only a wince from Mathews, but from the Liverpool crowd as the venue sensed that the Italian champion had enough to take home the belt.
A double uppercut in the sixth was painful enough to watch but followed by a left hook to the body, it sent the bloodied crowd favourite to the canvas and the writing was on the wall from then on as Mathews had a cut open up on his left eye to add to his woes.
Referee Marcus McDonnell assessed Mathews through the early stages of the seventh round and after two solid shots to his nose, called the bout off to crown Marsili a worthy champion and left Mathews with a difficult decision on his next move.
Phil D. Jay covers boxing for worldboxingnews.net