Derry Matthews' European lightweight title dream was scuppered by a badly bloodied nose in Newport on Saturday night after an accidental clash of heads led to a technical draw. The Liverpudlian had been forced to wait for his shot at Welshman Rees and was acquitting himself well until the premature fourth-round ending. Photos by Kris Agland.
Matthews sought to use his four-inch height advantage to keep Rees at arm's length while the stocky Welshman bobbed, weaved and looked to jump into range. Both men landed hard right hands in the second round but each took his punishment well.
An element of spite crept into the bout in the fourth as the pair traded on the break but the action was largely clean and always competitive. However, in the fourth round Rees sought to work his way inside but in doing so, caught Matthews' nose with the back of his head. The impact looked nasty and blood immediately spurted from the Englishman's nose.
Referee John Keane took a close look at the injury as blood cascaded into Matthews' mouth and sprayed the official's shirt and when the ringside doctor examined the injury, the fight was waved off. With fewer than four rounds being completed the fight did not go to the judges' scorecards, so Rees kept his belt via technical draw.