Liverpool’s Derry Matthews thinks he and world champion Terry Flanagan are the UK’s current key players in the lightweight division.
While Flanagan holds the WBO strap, Matthews (38-9-2) is the WBA interim world champion and will defend the title to his mandatory challenger Ismael Barroso of Venezuela in early November.
Both Matthews and Flanagan are promoted by Frank Warren, while the likes of Anthony Crolla, Kevin Mitchell, Ricky Burns and Luke Campbell all fight under rival Eddie Hearn for Matchroom boxing.
“The lightweight division is really strong at the moment in the UK and we’ve got some good fighters. You’ve got me and Terry with Frank Warren and we hold the belts, so the Matchroom boys need us,” Matthews told World Boxing News.
“It’s frustrating that it’s so difficult to make the fights with the different TV platforms and the rivalry. I think the main issue is that everyone knows Frank Warren offers more when a fight goes to purse bids so Hearn is scared to risk losing out.
“I got offered a fight a while back and we responded to Matchroom and were happy to take it, but then they just ignored us and didn’t take it any further,” he added.
For now, Matthews is concentrating on his upcoming bout with Barroso, as he waits to face the winner of the ordered rematch between Crolla and WBA ‘super’ champion Darleys Perez.
“It’s a strange one, I’ve never seen an interim champ have a mandatory before, but it is what it is. Barroso’s an unbeaten southpaw and will come to win. I’ve been training hard and feel the best I ever have, so I’m excited to show my skills,” the 32 year-old said.
“It hasn’t been too frustrating having to wait for my shot at the ‘super’ champion. Look, this is boxing and these things happen – there are many people less fortunate than me, so I can’t complain.
“I really hope Crolla can win and wish him all the best. It would set up a great third fight between us, but unfortunately I just can’t see it happening. If Perez turns up – which I think, he will – he’s going to get the victory.”
Matt Horan is a staff writer for WBN. Follow on Twitter @mhoran123