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Derry Mathews stunned Anthony Crolla when he took his British lightweight title inside six sensational rounds last April. In two months' time they'll be at it again live on Sky Sports HD and we caught up with those involved in the re-match.

By Adam Norman: Twitter @SkySportsNorm.   Last Updated: 10/01/13 1:50pm

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One of the most anticipated fights of the year takes place on March 30 when Derry Mathews and Anthony Crolla re-match their barnstorming encounter of 2012.


Liverpool Echo Arena
Saturday March 30

Derry Mathews v Anthony Crolla
Tony Bellew v Isaac Chilemba
Rocky Fielding v Wayne Reed

Mathews came out a surprise victor in Oldham on April 21, wrenching the British lightweight title from the popular Mancunian who was starting to make waves on the domestic scene.

This time it's Crolla who must go into his opponent's backyard at the Liverpool Echo Arena with revenge very much on his mind and the Commonwealth belt at stake.

The 26-year-old has since rebuilt with a victory over the ill-fated Kieran Farrell, although not before losing to Gary Sykes in a Prizefighter tournament that also saw Mathews involved, only for the Liverpudlian to also miss out on first prize.

And Crolla is excited at the prospect of gunning for revenge after initially mulling a drop down to super-featherweight.

"I really wish it was sooner, I found out just after Christmas and it was like a late Christmas present," he told Sky Sports. "I can't wait for it, to make up for last time and put things right.

"Now it's seen as a 50-50 fight, but back then I was favourite. I made mistakes and Derry capitalised on them, I learned a harsh lesson losing in front of my own fans."


Mathews was considered a fading force by many 12 months ago but he dropped Crolla for the first time in his career and despite appearing to the weather the storm and a serious cut, the referee ended it in the sixth round.

It was a pivotal, and devastating moment in the youngster's career but Mathews' experience proved crucial that night and Crolla is determined not to make the same mistakes.

"It doesn't effect me mentally now, it's just something I look forward to and I want it more than anything."
Crolla on his defeat to Mathews Quotes of the week

"It's a case of lesson learnt and I can't let the same happen again," he added. "It doesn't effect me mentally now, it's just something I look forward to and I want it more than anything. It's the fight I most wanted and it's up to me to deliver now.

"I always say 'you might be as hungry but you can't be more hungry than me'. I want it so badly I'm giving it everything I've got.

"We both want that Commonwealth title and I'm sure we'll both go to great lengths for it, and that's what'll make a great fight for the fans."

Crolla trains under the watchful eye of Manchester's Joe Gallagher and he added some further colour to what happened during Mathews-Crolla I.

"I thought the first fight was going well until he walked onto a humdinger of a shot," he told Sky Sports. "Panic set it, he'd never been put down in his life, then he sustained a nasty cut.

"I thought we'd come through the eye of the storm when the fight was stopped, I thought the referee kept stopping the contest to look at the eye which made Crolla panic even more, thinking the fight's going to get stopped.

"You can't buy experience and from that Anthony gained a lot of experience. Derry's been around a long time, he's been in a lot of bruising fights, bloody battles and his experience told in that fight and he knew when to tuck up and when to punch.

"Both kids need huge praise for fighting each other again, Crolla's reputation is growing all the time and it's a great recipe for a fight. Boxing News had it as their domestic fight of the year and I'm sure at the end of 2013 they'll both be in London on awards night again."


Mathews has endured, quite literally, an up-and-down career that has seen him fail to beat the count seven times in eight losses, but with 32 wins and numerous titles to his name 'Dirty Derry' can rightfully be called one of the warriors of the sport.

He is currently riding the crest of a wave despite subsequent losses to world title challenger Gavin Rees and in Prizefighter to Terry Flannigan where he was hindered by cuts that would later require 18 stitches in total.

And he will enter the re-match with Crolla confident of a repeat win knowing he has the tools to do a number on the Manchester stylist.

"I was confident in the first fight, I said I would hurt him and put him over and I'm going to do it again," he told Sky Sports.

"Fighting Anthony Crolla again is another test and that's why I'm delighted to be here again."
Derry Mathews Quotes of the week

"It's a hard fight, he's going to be more determined, I think he did under-estimate me last time, but this time he'll be taking me seriously but I'll be doing the same.

"He was winning the first few rounds til I hurt him with a good shot. He's going to come out flying, he's going to have something to prove, I'm in front of my own city so I'll be under a bit of pressure, but I'm looking forward to it and I like to be involved in big fights.

"This will be my 42nd fight, I've never cut corners and always wanted to fight the best and test myself. Fighting Anthony Crolla again is another test and that's why I'm delighted to be here again."

Mathews will be roared on by thousands of fans by the Albert Docks but he knows he mustn't get carried away by the big-fight atmosphere.

"I'm a seasoned pro and I know how to control my nerves, once that bell goes I've got to be cool, calm and collected and do whatever it takes to get rid of him and I know I can," he added.

"I'm always super fit, I'm going to spend time in Spain, Brooklyn and Scotland so I'm doing everything right by getting locked away from my friends and family.

"Every fight's your last fight. If I get beat by Crolla where do I go? So that's what I've got to get into my head. I've got people to look after so I'm going to work hard to get the win."


Promoter Dave Coldwell signed Mathews after losing in Prizefighter and has worked with Matchroom Eddie Hearn to put the fight together.

And while he was an excited neutral in the first fight, Coldwell has nailed his colours firmly to the Mathews mast this time around.

"I watched the first fight as a fan and as a fan I can't wait for this one, but I'm in Derry's corner this time," he said. "I was surprised by the intensity of the first fight, I forgot it was a short fight because it was so brutal.

"Derry's signed with Coldwell Boxing and I do think he's got Anthony's number. Derry's 100 percent confident and he knows he's got Crolla's number. It'll be another brutal fight and I'm sure Derry will be hurt again, but he knows he can come back and beat him.

"There were certain things said before the last fight to suggest they were taking Derry lightly. Maybe mentally they did, I don't believe for one minute they did physically, I know Anthony's a professional.

"But mentally they maybe didn't give Derry the respect they should have done. But Derry now has the upper hand as he knows he can hurt Crolla, and knows he can stop him.

"Also, Anthony knows Derry can hurt him, that's not mentality it's just fact.

"They wanted this fight. If you want to go down to super-featherweight then do so. They can both do super-feather but Derry's got the size and he hits hard - his power is under-rated - and that will be in his favour."

Whichever side you take on March 30, make sure you've got nothing else planned. This is one fight you will not want to miss.

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