Derry Mathews put in a very brave effort today in Sheffield, but fell to European lightweight champion Gavin Rees in the ninth round, dropping his British title to Rees, as well.
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Mathews (30-7-1, 16 KO) was hurt a few times in the bout, and at the end of the eighth round was clearly reeling and had to be saved by the bell as Rees' right hand became a major factor, helped by the points that Rees (37-1-1, 18 KO) had put into the bank with body shots during the fight. But Mathews came out for the ninth valiantly, looking to catch Rees with something big to turn the tide.
It wasn't to be, as Rees stormed early in the round, and then dropped Mathews with a right hand that stopped the bout, though Mathews did get up.
Rees, 32, is a former junior welterweight world titleholder who frankly has earned his way into a world title shot at lightweight at this point, and has emerged as a reliable, exciting fighter. He's done all that has been asked of him, and surprised a lot of people at this point. His only career loss came to Andriy Kotelnik, who was a good fighter and just better than Rees.
The ringside judges had Rees up by one point on two cards, and the third judge had it even, but Bad Left Hook had it 78-74 Rees at the time of stoppage.
For Mathews, 28, it's the seventh time he's been stopped in his career. He's been sort of up and down in his career, but his heart can't be questioned, as he fought through a cut caused by a clash of heads and gave a superb effort in this one. Rees was just the better, more durable man tonight.
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