Derry Mathews: Anthony Crolla replaced in Richar Abril title bout

By Luke ReddyBBC Sport
Derry Mathews
Mathews beat Anthony Crolla in 2012 and the pair drew in 2013

Liverpool fighter Derry Mathews will fight Cuban Richar Abril for the world WBA lightweight title, replacing the injured Anthony Crolla.

Crolla, 28, was forced out of a January meeting with Abril when he fractured his skull and broke an ankle while apprehending burglars in December.

Abril, 32, will now face Mathews, 31, at Liverpool's Echo Arena on 6 March.

It will be a first world title shot for Mathews, who beat Crolla in 2012 and drew with his Manchester rival in 2013.

News of the fight, which will be officially announced at a news conference on Thursday, will raise the prospect of Mathews facing Crolla for a third time, should he claim the title.

Mathews has 36 wins from a 47-fight professional career which started in 2003 and though he has overcome the likes of Curtis Woodhouse, Tommy Coyle and Crolla at domestic level, a meeting with Abril represents a step up.

Derry Mathews and Anthony Crolla
Derry Mathews and Anthony Crolla have met twice, with Mathews stopping his rival out in 2012 before a draw 11 months later

Abril, an orthodox fighter with three defeats in 23 fights, has fought just twice in two years.

His meeting with Crolla - unbeaten in eight fights - was seen as an opportunity for the Mancunian boxer to compliment his fine form with a major title.

But his title hopes were ended when a burglar dropped a concrete slab on his head, prompting Crolla to admit he "was lucky to be alive".

Mathews overcame fellow Briton Martin Gethin in May and through promoter Frank Warren has capitalised to claim the vacant challenger's position.

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