Gavin Rees will defend his European Lightweight title against Liverpool’s Derry Mathews on July 23 at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff.
Former WBA World Champion Rees claimed the vacant strap in the same venue against Irishman Andy Murray on June 4 and springs into early action in his first defence against the English and IBO Lightweight title holder Mathews.
Prizefighter Light Welterweight Champion Rees is aiming to fight for World level honours once again and become a two-weight World supremo. Mathews, who was runner-up in Prizefighter Super Featherweights tournament in September, comes into the Rees clash on the back of two first-round stoppages against George Watson and Amir Unsworth – the latter for the English title – and his IBO title win on points in January against Scott Lawton.
The full card in Cardiff will be announced shortly and the bill replaces the Brentwood show that was to be headlined by Darren Barker’s first defence of his European Middleweight title.
“I don’t believe in the word 'inactivity' and at 31 and as a former champion of the World, Gavin is as ready as he will ever be to launch an attack on the lightweight division. The Derry Mathews fight sets up to be a classic. I know how much this shot means to Derry, he is a great guy and deserves it – he won't leave anything in the ring on the 23rd.”
Barker will now concentrate his efforts in the gym as he prepares for a World title challenge to Sergio Martinez later this year.
“We sat down and looked at timings and whilst ideally I would like Darren to have one more fight before Martinez, we also know it's the biggest fight and opportunity of his life so the camp has to be perfect,” said Hearn. “We also felt that an 'easy' warm up fight wouldn't be giving value to the fans – but I know they will be following him in big numbers across the Atlantic in this blockbuster fight.
Tickets for the Gavin Rees v Derry Mathews European title clash and full undercard are now on sale priced £30 unreserved and £50 ringside from the Motorpoint Arena Box-Office on 02920 224488.