Boxing


Mathews Up For Khan Challenge

WBU World Featherweight champion Derry Mathews has thrown down a challenge to rival Amir Khan following his win over Scott Lawton at the weekend. The undefeated Scouser, who defends his belt against Matthew Marsh at the York Hall on Saturday night live and exclusive on Setanta Sports, says he wants to bulk up and taken on golden boy Khan in a battle of Britain..

" Amir fights at a couple of weights higher than I do, but I'd love to hold world titles at different weights," said Mathews.

" All the great fighters in history like Sugar Ray Leonard, Oscar De La Hoya and Marco Antonio Barrera have gone up through the divisions and I want to be known as a great so I've got no problem's in going up to take Khan on.

" I'm 5ft 9in which is pretty tall for a featherweight and have got a big frame to fill out, so I don't think it's unrealistic to talk about going up to lightweight.

" Khan's a great fighter, but if I were to beat him it would make my name.

I think there's a lot of boxers in the country, whatever their weight, who want to fight Khan, and I'm one of them.

" I would hit him the hardest he's ever been hit, so I'm confident I can put a dent or two in him and end his unbeaten record. And like Khan I was a top amateur as well."

Mathews defeated Steve Foster Jnr to win the WBU crown last year, before successfully defending it against current British champ John Simpson in March.

Those two wins, coupled with some impressive performances early in his career, landed 24-year-old Mathews the prestigious Boxing Writers' Young Boxer of the Year award.

And he is aiming to build on the success against Marsh, and get himself in line to headline the new Liverpool Echo Arena in his home city against some of the other top domestic names.

" I've always wanted to top the bill in Liverpool, and I've got so many fans I could probably sell out the new Arena a couple of times over!" said Mathews, 18-0 (9).

" There's a great scene in Liverpool at the moment, with guys like Paul Smith, Tony Bellew and Joe McNally coming through.

" It's always been a great fight city and there is a lot of interest in our careers. Imagine how many people would come and see me box Amir Khan."

Among Mathews' celebrity fans are footballers Steven Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Wayne Rooney - and they may be ringside on Saturday night.

" They are aiming to get to York Hall after England's game against Estonia," said Mathews.

" Stevie and Jamie were at my last fight against Simpson, and I know Wayne's a big boxing fan as well."

Mathews-Simpson is part of an action-packed York Hall card which will be screened live on Setanta Sports.

Article posted on 08.10.2007



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