Home Boxing News Rees retains Euro strap after Mathews injury

Rees retains Euro strap after Mathews injury

Liverpool fighter breaks nose in accidental head clash technical draw

Gavin Rees defended his European Lightweight title in at the Newport Centre in South Wales on Saturday night as a clash of heads in the fourth round left Derry Mathews with a broken nose and forced the contest to end in a technical draw.

It was Rees’ first defence of the title and it was bubbling into a good looking contest, with the challenger starting well in the opening round, using his reach well to claim the opening stanza. Rees responded in bustling fashion in the second and third rounds but just as it was shaping up to be a great contest, disaster struck for Mathews in the fourth.

Fighting at close quarters, Rees’ head connected flush with Mathews’ nose and instantly the 27 year-old was in trouble. With blood pouring from his nose, he was taken over to the doctor who suspected a broken nose and with the fight inside four rounds; Rees retains his title through a technical draw.

“I’m absolutely devastated, I’ve worked so hard for the fight and I know Gavin has, but things happen in life and you’ve just got to get on with it,” said Mathews. “As soon as my nose went I knew it was broken and I was swallowing blood.”

While Mathews is hoping for a rematch, a disappointed Welshman revealed that he could be ready to move down to Super Featherweight after work with trainer Gary Lockett and nutritionist Renzo Algieri saw Rees enter the fight ‘in the best shape ever’.

“I’ve still got the belt and I’m still champion but we both trained hard for this so it’s disappointing we couldn’t have a full fight,” said Rees. “He took the first round and the other two were mine, I was really warming up from the third but accidents happen and it’s unfortunate.

“I think he gave me his best in the opening round and then I shook him with some good shots in the second and third so it was just getting going. I’ll sit down with Eddie Hearn, Gary and the rest of the team and we’ll talk about the next move – which could be going down to Super Featherweight.

“At the weigh-in I was only three pounds over the Super Featherweight limit and I feel in fantastic shape, I’ve been boxing these big guys before so I think I could do really well at Super Featherweight, I think I stand a great chance of winning a World title in that division.

“I’ve only been working on a strict diet with Renzo for four weeks and I’m looking better than ever. The weight has flown off so why box at a weight above one that you can make? In my last few fights I’ve been about 9st 7lbs, so why not make the move? I’ve adapted to the style of fighting taller guys quite well so it’s not about that, I’m not bothered about that, but I think my power would be great at Super Featherweight and hopefully I can sit down with the team and we can get out against in December.”

Lockett added: “I’m so proud of Gavin the way he has changed his lifestyle, the way he eats and even the way he thinks – it’s fantastic and all credit should go to him. They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks, well he’s showed that you can. I think he would have gone on to win that tonight, we’ll never know – but the pace would have been easy for Gavin tonight as he’s done the weight so easily, so yes, Super Featherweight is definitely an option we’ll look at.”

Before Rees and Mathews clashed, Bradley Pryce claimed a hard fought points win over Danny Butler, thanks to a final round knockdown of the Bristol prospect. Lockett trains Pryce and believes his man was behind through six rounds, but in the last he unleashed a fine left uppercut to floor Butler and Pryce too the fight 77-75 on referee Wynford Jones’ scorecard.

A third win on the night for Lockett then came after Jeff Evans impressed taking all four rounds against Sam Couzens.

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