DERRY MATHEWS must now face Venezuelan KO king Ismael Barroso for the Interim WBA World Lightweight Championship on Saturday April 18 at the Echo Arena after the Champion Richar Abril was forced to withdraw again through illness.
Mathews versus Barroso headlines a triple-title card alongside Liam Smith’s challenge for the Vacant WBO Intercontinental Light-Middleweight Championship against David Ezequiel Romero plus the clash for the Vacant British Flyweight Championship between Iain Butcher and Luke Wilton, live and exclusive on BoxNation.
Abril was forced to withdraw from his title defence against Mathews in March after coming down with dengue fever from a mosquito bite, but has been forced to withdraw again as he is still reeling from the after-effects of the virus that has left him unable to train.
The WBA have ruled that Mathews and Barroso must meet for the vacant Interim title, with Abril now the Champion in Recess and Darleys Perez declared the full champion of the division.
Southpaw Barroso, a frightening puncher from El Tigre, has recorded 16 knockouts from 17 wins in his 19 fights (two draws), with 11 quick wins coming inside the first three rounds.
The 31-year-old has previously won the WBA Fedebol and Fedelatin titles 135lb titles and in his last fight he captured the interim NABO and NABA lightweight championships with a sixth round stoppage of Issouf Kinda in March.
Although Liverpool ace Mathews is disappointed that he won’t be facing the champion Abril for the belt, the main consolation for him is that he will still challenge for a version of the world title.
And Mathews believes that his higher level of experience: 48 fights over 15 years; 18 championship title fights; 264 career rounds and 20 knockouts from 37 wins, vastly outweighs Barroso’s and will give him the vital edge over the South American hitman.
“It’s unfortunate that Abril’s pulled out again, but things in life happen for a reason and I’m delighted to still be fighting for a version of the WBA World title and I’m headlining the Echo Arena in front of my home fans,” said Mathews.
“I’ve seen some footage of him, he’s strong, with big right hands and left hooks and and can take you clean out, but I’m not going to be in a position to let him do that to me,”
“Barroso’s a very dangerous fighter and a massive, massive, puncher. Just look at his record, he’s banging people out left, right and centre and it makes frightening reading, but when I saw it I said straight away I’ll have this guy because I know that I can beat him,”
“I’ve been in this sport for over ten years; I’ve had more knockouts than he’s had fights; twice as many fights as him, and three times as many championship fights, in terms of experience he’s not on my level and I can use all of my experience to my advantage,”
“Even with the change of opponent at this stage, plus the change from Abril’s orthodox style to Barrosa’s southpaw style, we still have some time to study him and my trainer Danny Vaughan is confident we can come up with the plan to beat him. I’ll beat anyone at the moment with the way I’m feeling,”
“I’m in with a massive puncher, but I can punch a bit myself so the crowd will be in for an exciting fight and I can see me flattening him. If the opportunity comes to take him out early I’ll take it, but I know I’ve got to be smart in there.”
Derry Mathews’ challenge for the Vacant Interim WBA World Lightweight title against Ismael Barroso on Saturday April 18 headlines a quality-packed card also featuring: Liam Smith challenging for the Vacant WBO Intercontinental Light-Middleweight title against David Ezequiel Romero; Iain Butcher takes on Luke Wilton for the Vacant British Flyweight Championship; undefeated talent Joe Selkirk, the former WBO European Light-Middleweight Champion, makes his long awaited return to the ring in an eight round contest; fast rising welterweight prospect Stephen Lewis, who’s unbeaten in eight fights, returns to action in six-rounder; unbeaten Middlesborough prospect Josh Leather fights in a six-rounder and hot young flyweight talent Andrew Cain make his professional debut on the show.