Marsili performs Italian Job on Mathews
Derry Mathews suffered a heavy defeat at the hands of Italian Emiliano Marsili in their IBO lightweight title showdown at the Liverpool Olympia on Friday evening.
Mathews, who endured a sixth loss in his professional career, was left devastated after referee Howard Foster was forced to end the fight in the seventh round, deeming Mathews unfit to carry on after his face was left a bloodied mess.
Marsili, who hails from Lazio, certainly left his mark in Liverpool and on the boxing world after being dismissed pre-fight over his lack of ability to box out of his comfort zone, with his previous 24 fights all taking place in his native Italy. The unbeaten 35 year old Italian, whose record now stands at 24-0-1, started the fight extremely well, using his explosive style to frustrate Mathews by throwing himself toward the hometown favourite, forcing him on the back foot and keeping him quite throughout the opening round.
In round two it was lights out - not a knockout - but the beginning of the second round was delayed for a few minutes after the lights above the ring cut off. The short break allowed both fighters to enjoy extra breathing space before the lights eventually came back on and the action continued. As the fight got back underway, Mathews began to find his rhythm, finding a way through with a couple of good shots but it was the Italian Stallion who again looked the brighter with his aggressive style proving more problems.
Mathews began to bring his backhand into play, stamping his authority on the fight and forcing the Italian on the back foot. But Marsili wasn't going to roll over and crumble under Mathews' pressure, as the home fans began to find their voice, turning the atmosphere electric. The crowd's encouragement certainly lifted Mathews, so much that he almost floored Marsili after landing a thundering right turning Marsili's legs to jelly momentarily.
Just as it looked like Mathews had weathered the storm and turned the fight around in his favour, the Italian stuck back which had devastating consequences over the next couple of rounds. With the fight now in the sixth, a tiring Mathews was seeking refuge on the ropes, desperately trying to protect himself from a string of punches from a man seven years his senior. Marsili continued to work at Mathews' body and a resilient Mathews was eventually put on to the canvas as the punches proved too much for him. Mathews bravely beat the referee's count and appeared to be sporting a fresh break to his already broken nose.
As the fighters entered the seventh, you could sense it wouldn't be long before the fight was stopped, with blood pouring from Mathews, and after 1 minute 27 seconds of that very round, his suffering was put to an end, as the referee came into protect Mathews, who was again under seize from body and head shots from the Marsili.
The decision, despite moans from the crowd, was the right one for the health and well being of Mathews, who was left heartbroken after his dreams were left shattered. However, praise has to be given to Marsili whose stunning performance gained the respect and appreciation from the Liverpool crowd. He won them over by parading an emotional Mathews around the ring, raising his hand in the air, which was a fitting moment to a memorable fight.
Although Mathews was unable to complete the 'Italian Job,' he certainly gave it his all against a worthy champion.