All-action Turbo proved why he is rated as one of the world’s very best lightweights despite the best efforts of the brave Mathews. The packed-out Arena were treated to an explosive performance from both men who gave it their all to take home the WBO belt.
Flanagan silenced the hostile Liverpool crowd early on with his blistering hand speed and silky movement. Undefeated Flanagan began to take control of the fight in the early rounds, landing powerful combinations on the Scouse challenger. The southpaw found his range in the second round and appeared to have too much for Mathews to handle.
32 year-old Mathews lived up to his ‘Dirty’ nickname, punching in the clinch and doing his all to stop the relentless onslaught form the Mancunian lightweight king. Challenger Mathews began to fight back in the fourth round, landing two big hooks on the cornered Flanagan. Both men took a warning form the referee for pushing as the massive all-British showdown began to spice up.
Mathews went looking for his renowned big punch in the fifth round and connected well with a solid right hand. The Scouse half of the crowd could sense their man was getting back into the bout as Mathews took the fifth round. Chants of ‘Derry Derry!’ filled the electric arena.
Derry remained a threat throughout the sixth round and continued to cause the champion problems; finding his way through Flanagan’s defence repeatedly.
Despite Flanagan edging the rounds Mathews remained a constant threat. The referee finally docked Flanagan a point for the use of his elbow in the eighth round to the delight of Mathew’s supporters.
An explosive start to the ninth round saw both men trade at will, with the eagerly-anticipated world title clash was turning into a real barn burner.
Southpaw Flanagan started to retake control of the bout in the tenth round, dominating the middle of the ring and forcing Mathews onto the ropes.
Sensing he was down on the score cards, Mathews came out of his corner in the eleventh round looking to end the contest with a show-stopping punch. It was too little too late for the man looking to land a full world title in his 50th professional fight as the judges handed Flanagan a unanimous decision.