Derry Mathews and Anthony Crolla say the rematch of their fight of the year clash in Betfair’s ‘No Retreat, No Surrender’ at the Echo Arena on Saturday live on Sky Sports will steal the show on a bumper night of boxing in Liverpool.
Mathews ripped the British title from Crolla in Oldham in April after six fast and furious rounds of boxing. The Liverpool man has home advantage this time and he predicts that he will repeat the feat with the Manchester fighter rocked by his devastating performance just under a year ago.
“The crowd will get me up for the fight,” said Mathews. “It will really get me fired up and I am excited now talking about it because what better way than to perform in front of 10,000 Scousers and win a Commonwealth title?
“You have 10,000 lunatic Scousers going mad so that is a massive bonus but once the bell goes you are on your own and it is just going to be me and Anthony in there.
“I don’t know how much his confidence has gone but I think that he knows deep down in his heart and in his head that I can hurt him in any round. I am a big, massive puncher for a lightweight and I believe I can hurt him in any round and I believe I can outbox him.
“I am going to win on points or a late stoppage. I know I am going to catch him sometime in the fight. It is going to be a hard fight, don’t get me wrong, I am going to have to come through some rocky moments in the fight, Anthony is going to get his moments in the fight but I know I am mentally and physically strong and I have done everything right in camp and I won’t let the people of the city down and I am going to perform.”
Crolla bounced back to win the English title in another classic battle, this time with Kieran Farrell in December in Manchester, and the 26 year old says he’s ready for revenge in hostile territory.
“I believe it is a case of lessons learnt,” said Crolla. “I made mistakes last time and I have worked hard on them. I watched the fight on the same night and I could see the mistakes I made, simple mistakes I made, when I went away from the game plan. Fair play to Derry, he came up with a belting shot last time and he hurt me and I am not going to sit here and say he can’t hurt me because he can. He hurt me last time so he is capable of doing it again so that has just given that extra bit of edge to me and my training, carefulness and cautious but it certainly won’t be a boring fight, we are both getting in there and we will meet in the centre of the ring.
“I am expecting a hostile reception, I am under no illusions there but I am bringing great support with me and I even have friends from Liverpool who are going to be cheering for me. But I am under no illusions, I will get probably the worst reception on the night. That is just part of it, part of going into the lion’s den and I have to deal with that. It won’t affect me whatsoever; if anything it is more pressure on Derry. I have been to Liverpool before, some of my best performances have been on the road and I believe Saturday will be another case of that.”
Mathews and Crolla provide the chief support to Tony Bellew’s crunch official final WBC light heavyweight eliminator clash with Isaac Chilemba.
Rocky Fielding defends his English super middleweight title against Wayne Reed while Olympic captain Thomas Stalker boxes in his hometown for the first time as a pro. Unbeaten Liverpool starlet Jazza Dickens faces Jon Fernandes for the vacant super bantamweight title, while Stalker’s fellow former Team GB members Kal Yafai, Callum Smith and Scotty Cardle continue their pro journeys.
Tickets for Betfair’s ‘No Retreat, No Surrender’ at the Liverpool Echo Arena on March 30 are on sale now priced £30, £40 and £60 from the Echo Arena on 0844 8000 400 and www.echoarena.com . £100 ringside and £150 VIP tickets are available from Matchroom Boxing on 01277 359900 and at www.matchroomboxing.com .