By Elliot Foster
Derry Mathews has insisted that people can write him off at their peril after he agreed to a surprising domestic lightweight showdown for the autumn.
The Liverpool puncher, 32, will take on Olympic gold medal winner Luke Campbell on October 15, live on Sky Sports.
Mathews (38-10-2, 20 KOs) and 29-year-old Campbell (14-1, 11 KOs) are set to clash at the ECHO Arena, with the Hull man’s WBC Silver title at stake.
The showdown came as a surprise to fans and has been given a lot of attention on social media and online.
But Mathews, who lost a decision to WBO world champion in his last fight in March, just two weeks before Campbell blasted out Gary Sykes to win the vacant Commonwealth lightweight crown, isn’t fazed by facing the younger, fresher fighter and says that there is plenty of juice remaining in his tank.
“I'll take anyone on, anywhere and any time and this is an opportunity to fight in my home city against a world-class fighter,” the former British, Commonwealth and WBA interim champion beamed.
“I think this has come too early for Luke but still think he will go on to become a world champion.
“When I win this fight it’s going to open doors for bigger and better things, the lightweight scene is thriving at the moment and there’s plenty of life in this old dog, believe me.”
The experience difference between both men is vast, something Derry is confident he can take advantage of.
“He was a fantastic amateur but the pro game is different and I don’t think that he’s settled in as a pro as he wanted to. People might look at my age and the number of fights I’ve had, but I still feel fresh and I live the right life.
“I’m prepared to dig deep and do what I need to get the win.”
Campbell goes into this fight, for his own fringe WBC crown, on the back of being dropped en-route to a 12-round points decision victory over Argenis Mendez, the former IBF super-featherweight titlist, at the First Direct Arena in Leeds –– and that came just six months after his first defeat in the paid code against Yvan Mendy at London’s O2 Arena on December 12, 2015.
The showdown between Campbell and Mathews will act as the chief supporting contest to Tony Bellew’s first defence of the WBC cruiserweight world title against colourful Californian BJ Flores, who is a former WBA interim title challenger.
Ryan Burnett is set to defend his British bantamweight title against Ryan Farrag on the bill, while Tom Farrell will fight for his first title and Sean Dodd will make the first defence of his WBC International lightweight title against former British super-featherweight champion Gary Sykes.
Elsewhere, Rocky Fielding will make a defence of his WBC International super-middleweight title, David Price will fight for the second time in two weeks and Bellew’s mandatory challenger, Mairis Briedis of Latvia, will appear over eight or 10 rounds.
And there will also be action for Commonwealth Games gold medallist Scott Fitzgerald as well as unbeaten cruiserweight Craig Glover and super-lightweight Gerard Carroll.