By Chris Williamson
Echo Arena, Liverpool - Olympic gold medal winner Luke Campbell (15-1, 12KOs), now trained by Cuban coach Jorge Rubio, had too much for dangerous veteran Derry Mathews (38-11-2, 20KOs).
After landing some damaging shots to the body, Campbell scored a fourth round knockout to retain the WBC silver lightweight championship.
The bout stared tentatively with southpaw Campbell pushing out jabs to body and head. Matthews, with a home crowd behind him, hurt the Hull man with a stinging left hook at end of the first. Both lightweights stung each other with body shots in the second as Matthews pressed forward. Campbell was getting the better of these exchanges; a sign of thing to come.
Matthews, who won a junior Olympic gold medal in what seems a lifetime ago, has been prone to cuts and marked up as early as the second.
Matthews started the third aggressively with a series of stinging straight rights. Campbell came back strongly and caught Matthews with a beautiful left hook which knocked the scouser down just before the bell to end the third.
It seemed Campbell's left couldn't miss by the fourth as he continued hurting Matthews. The Liverpool man was now telegraphed the right badly, which the 2012 Olympic gold medalist evaded easily and caught Matthews on the ropes with a left hand body shot which dropped the local man. Matthews bravely beat the count and staged a short and exciting fight back in the centre of the ring - before another inevitable left hand body shot left Matthews in a heap on the canvas for the full count.
Campbell is now on a three fight win streak after losing to Yvan Mendy in December last year and looks well positioned for a world title shot.
ALSO ON THE CARD
Ryan Burnett kept hold of his British title with a points win.
The Belfast bantamweight successfully negated the first defence of his bauble in a gruelling 12-round showdown against hometown man Ryan Farrag, exclusively live on Sky Sports.
Burnett was behind after a couple of rounds, with Farrag enjoying spells of early success, but the fight soon became the Adam Booth-trained man’s to lose.
Throughout the middle rounds, the fight was monotonous, with both fighters throwing and one being more effective than the other.
And although Burnett pulled away, Farrag tried to make it competitive in attempting to keep up with him down the stretch.
But eventually, it just wasn’t enough and Burnett got the decision, as part of the undercard to Tony Bellew’s first WBC cruiserweight world title against colourful Californian BJ Flores.
It was a cracking fight, but one man was better than the other throughout the course of the contest and all three judges had it in favour of the Ulsterman by margins of 118-111, 117-111 and 118-110.
Burnett now moves to 15-0 with nine early, while Farrag suffered his second defeat on the bounce as he slips to 16-3 with four early.