Hundreds of boxing fans packed into the Derry Mathews Boxing Academy this afternoon to catch a glimpse of the title challenger putting in some final work ahead his big night. The Merseyside hero is now just days away from his all-British title showdown with Manchester’s WBO Lightweight Champion Terry Flanagan at the Liverpool Echo Arena.
Liverpool favourite Mathews was joined by fellow Scouser Jazza Dickens, who takes on pound for pound megastar Guillermo Rigondeaux, and South African super-puncher Zolani Tete who battles gutsy Mexican Jose Santos Alvarez for the Vacant IBF International Bantamweight Championship. The charismatic lightweight was in high spirits ahead of the biggest night of his career.
“I’m over the moon with the turnout today. There must be at least 200 people here and it looks like a lot of them are skiving off work and school! There’s a massive buzz around the city and seeing all these fans here today gives me a massive boost,” said Mathews.
He added: “It was brilliant seeing so many new and old faces down the gym and now it’s all about performing on Saturday. You can see from today that there’s a lot of excitement around this fight and now it’s all about performing on Saturday.”
‘Dirty’ Derry looked to be in the shape of his life as he put on an impressive display for the cameras and his loyal fans. The Liverpudlian is delighted to be back on home soil after completing a gruelling training camp with trainer Danny Vaughan out in Spain.
He said: “I’m absolutely made up. I’ve been locked away from my family and kids for a long time so it’s amazing to be back home with them again. Every fighter makes sacrifices but being involved in such a huge world title fight has given me extra motivation to get up that little bit earlier every morning,”
“I’m fighting one of the best boxers in the world in Terry Flanagan so it was vital that we got the training camp absolutely spot on which we did. All the hard work is done and now it’s all about sharpening the tools, resting and relaxing.”
Mathews, 32, is determined to mark his 50th professional fight with a world title win in front of his home crowd. The hard-hitting lightweight says he’s in the best condition of his life both physically and mentally and is gearing up to prove his doubters wrong.
He said: “Danny Vaughan has got me in the best shape possible. We know what we’ve got to do to win this fight and I’m more than confident that we will. Terry has promised to knock me out so let’s see if he sticks to his word and delivers. I know that if I stick to my game plan and perform to the best of my ability I’ll be leaving the Echo Arena as a world champion.”