By Geoff Poundes
Anthony Crolla lost his British lightweight title in a huge upset tonight when he was stopped in the sixth round by Liverpudlian Derry Mathews in what the old-timers used to call a ‘nobbins’ fight at the Sports Centre in Oldham, UK.
Crolla, 23-3, 10 KO’s, controlled the fight from the first bell, and Mathews was beaten to the punch in the first two rounds by his quicker and stronger adversary. Then, out of the blue in the third, Mathews threw out a speculative right, and dumped Crolla on the seat of his pants. The champion was up at eight, but unsteady on his feet. By the end of the round he’d resumed a measure of control, but now the fight was a see-saw affair.
Matters worsened for Crolla in the fourth when he was cut beside the left eye, causing referee John Keane to take a couple of looks, and Matthews was now landing at will as Crolla tried to bull forward. Crolla appeared to be slowly wearing his man down in the fifth and in the early part of the sixth, but then another Mathews right caught Crolla on the point of the chin, sending him staggering backwards and Keane had seen enough and called it off.
It was a massive setback for Crolla who’d been touted for big things in the future. Mathews, now 30-6, 16 KO’s suddenly finds himself a key player in a crowded lightweight division this side of the Atlantic.
On the undercard there was another minor upset when Jon-Lewis Dickinson, 11-2, 3 KO’s, readily outpointed fellow cruiserweight prospect Matty Askin, 13-1, 9 KO’s. In the fight Askin seemed strangely subdued, and Dickinson continually beat him to the punch, so that he ran out a wide winner on all three cards, 98-93, 97-93, 97-93.
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