Matty Askin will now face unbeaten challenger Simon ‘Sparkly’ Barclay for the English Cruiserweight Championship at Liverpool’s Echo Arena on Saturday 12th March, exclusively live on BoxNation.
The action-packed night is topped by Manchester’s Terry Flanagan defending his WBO World Lightweight title against Liverpool’s Derry Mathews in a bitter North West showdown. Pound-for-pound megastar Guillermo Rigondeaux makes his first appearance on English soil when he takes on Merseyside hero Jazza Dickens in a true ‘Rocky’ story and South African super-puncher Zolani Tete makes his eagerly anticipated return to Liverpool to take on gutsy Mexican Jose Santos Gonzales for the Vacant IBF International Bantamweight title.
Barclay replaces Lawrence Bennet who was forced to withdraw from his rematch against Askin. The 26-year-old has won all eight of his fights and will be gunning for his first professional title. The two-time and two-weight English ABA king from the Northamptonshire steel town of Corby jumped at the chance to take on Askin at only two weeks’ notice.
“I’m feeling really confident. I wouldn’t have taken the fight if I wasn’t fit and in shape and I fully believe I have what it takes to get the win. It’s a big step up but facing tougher opponents will bring out the best in me,” said Barclay.
As well as being a double ABA champion, Barclay has Three Nations honours and has captained England. The mechanical engineer has a steely determination to make a name for himself in the professional ranks.
He added: “It’s a huge show and it’s a real privilege to be part of it. There’s some serious talent on the card with the likes of Flanagan, Rigondeaux and Tete and I’m looking forward to showing people what I’m capable of. It’s the first title I’ll be going for and it’s a big one so I’ll be giving it my all to get my hands on it.”
Askin, who is sparring with unbeaten Denmark Cruiserweight Micki Neilsen in Copenhagen, says he is unfazed by the change of opponent and fully expects to win.
He said: “I think he’s a better opponent. He has a decent winning record and he’s unbeaten so it should make for a more entertaining fight. Saying that, his style won’t trouble me. He’s a stand up boxer which is a good thing for me and I think our styles will gel on the night,”
“I’ve watched him box before and I can see myself winning by a stoppage. I punch too hard and I apply too much pressure which he won’t be able to handle. I don’t think he has anything to keep me off him and I think he knows that himself.”
Terry Flanagan v Derry Mathews for the WBO World Lightweight Championship headlines the show that also features one of the worlds greatest boxers, Guillermo Rigondeaux, taking on Merseyside hero Jazza Dickens; another star of world boxing, dynamite punching South African Zolani Tete challenges for the Vacant IBF International Bantamweight Championship against Jose Santos Gonzalez; Birmingham ace Tommy Langford defends his WBO Intercontinental Middleweight title against Lewis Taylor; hard-hitting Ellesmere Port’s star Paul Butler will challenge for a championship belt; Blackpool’s Matty Askin defends his English Cruiserweight title against Swindon’s Lawrence Bennett. The undercard features some of the best talent in Merseyside: undefeated leading world title contender Kevin Satchell; red-hot prospect Steven Lewis; European Champion Ryan Farrag; Indian superstar Vijender Singh plus Manchester prospects Macaulay McGowan and Zelfa Barrett and Leicester ace Lyon Woodstock complete the card.
Ticket for ‘A Tale Of Two Cities’ are priced at £40, £60, £80, £100, £150* and are available from Eventim 0844 249 1000 www.eventim.co.uk
A special V.I.P ticket priced at £250* that includes an inner ringside V.I.P seat, lanyard, complimentary beer, wine and soft drink (between a certain time period) and canapés are available to purchase through the Frank Warren Box Office office only on 01992 505 550.
The Channel Of Champions, BoxNation, will televise live and exclusive on Sky 437/HD 490, Virgin 546, TalkTalk 415 and Freeview 255. Subscribe at BoxNation or watch online at watch.boxnation.com and via iPhone, iPad or Android and Amazon devices.