Derry Mathews is taking every precaution necessary prior to his WBA Intercontinental title fight with the current British Lightweight champion Martin Gethin on May 10 in the knowledge that defeat could prove the end of his boxing career.
The former Commonwealth Lightweight champion has relocated to southern Spain and vowed to leave no stone unturned in his preparation for a fight that could propel him back up the WBA rankings and in with a shot at the world title.
Mathews is willing to do everything in his power to ensure he gets the better of his Walsall rival, Gethin, who is expected to provide a real battle when the two take to the ring in just over four weeks for the vacant crown.
Mathews told the Liverpool Echo: “Gethin’s a top fighter, he’s Britain’s number one and I’ve got to beat him and prove that I belong up there with the best.
"Nothing matters more in the world to me than beating Gethin right now. I can’t afford to make any slip-ups and if I do, then there is nowhere for me to go.
"I’ve taken myself away from my kids and family and based myself in Marbella to get into the shape of my life, physically and mentally.
"My career is on the line here, if I get beat it could be the end because I’m not going back down to eight-round fights.
"I’m a championship fighter and I want to remain there for the rest of my career and end it with a world title.”
The 30-year-old, who has been out of the ring since December nursing a nasty hand injury, is well aware that winning this fight could provide him with the world title fight that he so desperately wants. But against a fighter with such an aggressive style, much similar to his own, the fight could go either way. It will make for great viewing, regardless of the outcome.
"Our styles will make for a real war, he doesn’t take a step back and neither do I. He’d better be ready for me because I’ll be invincible on the night,” added Mathews.
“It’s going to be a cracking fight for the fans, they’re in for a special night and a Mathews win.”
The Liverpool man is not short on confidence and has been boosted in his preparation by training at an overseas MGM gym which provides him with everything he could need in the build up to the biggest fight of his life.
He has sparring session lined up with Tommy Coyle, but there’s also Tom Stalker, Bradley Saunders and Peter McDonagh there to help him with his training and ensure he is sharp and ready come May 10.
“The gym over here is brilliant, you couldn’t ask for a better set-up and I just wished I had known about this place 10 years ago. My career could’ve been different if I had done. So I’m going to make the most of it," said Mathews.
“Peter is perfect sparring for me ahead of Gethin because he’s a come forward fighter. Gethin is rough and tough and isn’t British champion for nothing.
“There are going to be some exciting spars.”
The fight is just as important for Mathews' opponent, Gethin, who after losing to Panamanian Ammeth Diaz in an IBF World title eliminator last May, needs a win to get back on track for his own shot at the world title.
Gethin's loss to Diaz brought about rumours of retirement after he was knocked to the floor three times and suffered a perforated eardrum. But now fully recovered, the 30-year-old is back on track and relishing the challenge ahead.
He told EuroSport: "We’re both fighting men, neither of us will back down, it’s going to come down to who wants it the most on the night and who’s prepared to put it all on the line to get it. That man will be me.
“I want to show the whole of the UK that the 'Quiet Man' does his talking in the ring. The Lightweight division is full of talented fighters but I sometimes think people forget that I’m the British champion and I'm certainly in the mix!"
He certainly is and it is sure to be a classic battle at the Liverpool Olympia on Merseyside in front of Mathews' home crowd. With both fighters equally in need of a win and an Intercontinental title at stake, who knows what will happen.
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