Terry Flanagan expects to stop Derry Mathews in WBO title fight

By Nate WilliamsBBC Sport
Terry Flanagan fighting Diego Magdaleno of the USA
Terry Flanagan (right) successfully defended his WBO lightweight title against Diego Magdaleno of the USA in October 2015

WBO world champion Terry Flanagan says his lightweight rival Derry Mathews has "no chance" of winning when they meet in Liverpool on Saturday.

Flanagan, 26, is unbeaten in 29 fights while Mathews has his first world title shot in a 49-fight career.

"I think Derry's kidding himself if he thinks he's going to beat me," Flanagan told BBC Sport.

"I'm going to win by stoppage. I'll stop him but I think Derry will go out on his shield."

The two Englishmen have met before in the three-round Prizefighter championship at the Liverpool Olympia in 2012.

"I've beat him in his own backyard before in Prizefighter and I'm going to do it again," said Flanagan.

"The difference between us now is I'm a heavier, natural lightweight. I'm bigger, better, stronger and feeling very confident."

Flanagan won the vacant WBO crown by technical knockout in July 2015 when American opponent Jose Zepeda was injured, and defended it by beating another American, Diego Magdaleno, in October.

While Flanagan is the favourite, 32-year-old former British champion Mathews has more experience, having boxed 142 rounds more than Flanagan. He has not been stopped for three years.

"He does seem confident that he's going to stop me but he couldn't name a round he was going to stop me in so he can't be that confident," said Mathews.

"I'm the most over-avoided lightweight in the country. They all know how much of a puncher I am but they also realise that I've got a good boxing brain. I've won a junior Olympic gold medal and six national titles by out-boxing people. This is my time and I believe I'm going to be a world champion."

Mathews also questioned the standard of opponents Flanagan has faced.

"Who has Flanagan really boxed? He's boxed on undercards where 90% of the purse went to him so he had to win all those fights. I haven't done it that way. I've had to box away from home against tough opponents and that experience will show on Saturday."

The winner could potentially face another Briton, WBA lightweight champion Anthony Crolla, if he comes through his mandatory defence against Venezuela's Ismael Barroso in May.