European Lightweight Champion Gavin Rees will be taking on British titleholder Derry Mathews on July 7 when the two square off at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, England. The two fighters met back in October, but the bout had to be stopped when Mathews suffered a broken nose due to an accidental head butt in the fourth round and it was called a technical draw.
The 28-year-old Mathews from Liverpool has stayed active since then. He was stopped in the seventh round by Emiliano Marsili in January before earning a sixth-round TKO over Anthony Crolla in April to take the British championship. The 32-year-old Rees of Newbridge, Wales last fought in March and stopped Anthony Mezaache in the seventh round in Paris, France.
The first meeting between Rees and Mathews was shaping up into a pretty good contest when it was stopped and fans are hoping for the same thing this time around. Rees will enter the ring with a 36-1-1 record with 17 KOs. The former WBA Jr. Welterweight Champion’s only loss came back in March of 2008 when Andriy Kotelnyk stopped him in the 12th round and took his world title. Mathews is 30-6-1 with 16 KOs and hasn’t fought the same level opponents that Rees has.
There are question marks hanging over both fighters heading into the bout. Rees has tired badly during his last two fights and could be nearing the end of his career as a meaningful fighter. Meanwhile Mathews was stopped in his very next bout after meeting Rees and his chin might not be able to stand up to Rees’ power.
Mathews started his career well by going unbeaten in his first 20 bouts and met some pretty decent boxers in Stephen Foster and John Simpson. He was just beginning to make a name for himself in Britain and Europe when he ran into Choi Tseveenpurev of Mongolia, who knocked him out in the fifth round in 2008. Mathews career then took a nosedive as he lost three out of his next four fights and was knocked out in all of them.
Mathews, who was then 26 years old, felt he didn’t have what it takes to succeed at the top level and decided to retire. It didn’t last long though and he was back in the ring within eight months, He won a couple of bouts and then enter the British ‘Prizefighter’ televised boxing series where he ended up meeting Choi Tseveenpurev again. He managed to beat him by a three-round unanimous decision, but was then knocked out in the final bout in the second round by Gary Buckland.
Mathews glaring weakness is his chin and Rees would be wise to test it often and early. However, Rees often appears to lose focus in fights and doesn’t always enter the ring in top physical condition. He’s a bit of an enigma and often struggles against weaker opponents while boxing excellently against tough foes. He basically fights to the level of his opposition.
Rees also entered a Prizefighter tournament and beat Jason Cook, Colin Lynes, and Ted Bami to win the event in 2009. Rees found out that you have to be in top shape and use all of your skills to be successful in this sport when he lost his world title to Kotelnyk back in 2008. He learned a lesson in that defeat, but still seems to have difficulty the longer his fights go on.
If he doesn’t have any stamina issues, look for Rees to stop Mathews in the second half of this 12-rounder.
The current odds of the fight at online bookie 5dimes.eu are a Rees win at -440 with a Mathews victory listed at +350. Click here to visit 5Dimes and place your bets. To learn more about the betting options for this fight check out our boxing betting page.
Written by: Ian Palmer