Over the last week or so we have had a couple of “old style” fighters come out the woodwork and either talk up their fight or actually fight in the ring. I am talking of Lenny Daws, 30-5-2, 18 KO’s, and Derry Mathews, 38-11-2, 20 KO’s.
Over in the US these are not names with which you shall have much, if any familiarity, but when it comes to keeping on, keeping on, both are the epitome of professional pride and dogged determination.
It was Daws who, at the weekend, came up short in his third attempt to get a European belt round his waist. The last time had been more than galling as he had been disqualified by a referee, Freddy Rafn, who should never be allowed back in a ring, for a head butt that never was. His first attempt went to the home town Italian who was outboxed for the 12 rounds of the fight; twice denied by dodgy officialdom. This time though, he was beaten by a far superior fighter in the Swede, Anthony Yigit, 19-0-1, 7 KO’s – of whom much is now expected.
Despite all of these losses, we still expect Daws to make the decision to carry on because these facts prove that he is far from a quitter.
Daws of course has also been a two-time British champion so it is not like he has not tasted success in his career. At the weekend, Daws had been fighting for the first time since the headbutt controversy, meaning he had not thrown a punch in competitive anger for over 12 months. He was due to take on Yigit in 2016 but a back injury stopped him and again he had to wait for his chance.
Personal tragedy played a part in him losing that British title in 2011 when Daws lost his grandmother and the birth of his daughter tragically ended with his daughter losing her life. After 6 months, out of boxing he returned only to break down in tears during a run and unable to focus. He then lost his title to Ashley Theophane and everything seemed to be turning to dust for the popular Londoner.
Like so many fighters, when most in trouble the ones who matter most are the family and around Lenny they came. And like so many boxers his life, though filled with the unfortunate and awful leave him untainted as he is widely regarded as one of the nice guys out the ring. Of course, because he does not shout out and call people out he is apt to be ignored but that’s the man and that’s his style.
That aint the style of that other warrior, Derry Mathews. He has a showdown with Ohara Davies, 14-0, 11 KO’s coming and he could not be more vocal about it if he was standing in a shopping mall with a megaphone. This is total grudge and despite the fact both fighters are only nodding acquaintances, this is a fight we are all looking forward to seeing as it appears highly personal.
For Davies, it is a chance to fight a guy who has been a world title challenger – Mathews fought Terry Flanagan for the WBO title last year and actually won the WBA interim title against Tony Luis in 2015 – and prove to people he has what it takes. Mathews has been in with many of the best so Davies, a big mouth on the block does not faze him.
For Mathews, this clash in London on the 4th March, on the Haye/Bellew undercard is simple business. Mathews claims that many in the boxing business want him to do a number on Davies and he is more than willing to oblige.
They have both been on social media having a go and Davies was even in London at the Eubank, JR. show, nipping down in amongst the crowd to see if anyone was from Mathews’ home town, Liverpool, and able to defend his nemesis; there were no takers…
Mathews is most upset because he feels disrespected by Davies. Describing him as “mad” Mathews says that Davies is the villain they all want him to silence. After 51 professional fights, Mathews is making as keen preparation for this fight as if this was his debut and has been training in Scotland and LA – two massive contrasts if there ever were any…
With Haye/Bellew, Eggington/Malignaggi and Katie Taylor boxing on the same night, it would take something to be the fight of the night but you gotta believe that both Mathews and Davies, together in discordant harmony, might just pull that off!Contact the Feature Writers