By Jake Donovan

Darleys Perez can somewhat relate to the frustration felt by Derry Mathews, who has twice been scheduled to face Richar Abril for a lightweight title, only for both fights to fall through due to injury.

On both occasions, the cancellations came less than two weeks before the scheduled fight date. The latest saw Abril abruptly walk away from the planned April 18 showdown, claiming injury but his team refusing to speculate further until they feel the time is right, suggesting there’s more to the story.

Mathews will now face Ismael Barroso for the vacant WBA interim lightweight title, while the sanctioning body has upgraded Perez to full (regular) title status.

The once-beaten Colombian accepts the honor, although one he’d have rather earned in the ring. There was one such fight he always saw as the best way to make it happen, but – like everyone else at lightweight – had a hard time nailing down Abril, who’s only fought once since winning the belt more than two years ago.

“We tried to set up a fight with Abril in the past but it never came to fruition,” recalls Perez, who has won four straight since a hard-fought points loss to Yuriorkis Gamboa in June ‘13.

Among the four wins include a 12-round decision over Argenis Lopez to have claimed the interim title last June, and a recent 12-round whitewash of Jonathan Maicelo this past January. Perez can only hope to add to the collection, and figures that bigger fights and challenges lie ahead given his status.

“I know a lot of fighters are going to be gunning for me but I also know I must work harder and focus on staying atop the division,” notes Perez. “I want to bring more and more excitement to the lightweight division and give the fans what they deserve.”

Jake Donovan is the Managing Editor of Twitter: @JakeNDaBox