Surprise results in Oldham as Mathews reduces Million Dollar Crolla to a nickle and Dickinson silences the Assassin Askin

22 Apr

Alan Dawson – London

There were two coronations at the Oldham Sports Centre in Lancashire, England on April 21 as Derry Mathews de-throned ex British lightweight champion Anthony Crolla and Jon Lewis Dickinson overcame Matty Askin for the English cruiserweight title. Crolla had no answer for all the chin-crunching uppercuts Mathews enforced and, while the stoppage was called for far too early, Derry was clearly in the ascendancy.

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Dawson’s scorecard

Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
10 10 8 9 9 9

9 10 10
10 10 10

Official verdict: Mathews by sixth round TKO.

At the time of press, On The Beak dubbed Emiliano Marsili’s triumph over Derry Mathews a “massacre” but Dirty Derry rebounded this weekend with a donnybrooking technical knockout win, halting the rise of Mancunian lightweight Anthony Crolla.

Boxing in red, white and with a $ on his seat, Crolla took control of the centre of the ring, was the one taking the forward steps and executed a solid jab. His opponent Mathews – in blue and white – had a pleasing blue collar work-rate and thumped Crolla with multiple flurries. In the second round, Mathews stung Crolla with body blows before clinching onto his man and leaning down – a classic Klitschko trick – in order to deplete his opponent of energy.

At the beginning of the third, Crolla – who had never before been knocked down as an amateur or professional – suffered his first canvassing when Mathews rocked Crolla with a right upper counter. Million Dollar responded with machismo, fighting his way out of trouble rather than attempting to keep himself out of harm’s way and limiting Mathews’ gusto. The fist-swinging recklessness left both fighters open but it was Crolla who sustained a severe cut, in a problematic place; just below the eyebrow.

The difference between Crolla and Mathews was ultimately that of punch resistance as Mathews was able to absorb whatever Crolla threw at him – whether it was head or body – but, by the end of the fourth round, it was Crolla had been dropped and cut.

Fighting with a warrior’s instinct that has become typical for a Joe Gallagher product, Crolla engaged in warfare with Mathews. Both fighters picked their shots well but, while Crolla crouched and lingered on the inside, Mathews rattled his skull by unloading with power to each side of the brain-case.

Crolla’s defence abandoned him at the unfortunate moments when Mathews was piecing together brutally powerful combinations. When Crolla responded by dispatching heavy leather, Mathews would talk to his opponent during split-second respites. Crolla had the upper hand for a majority of the sixth round but, with less than 30 seconds left on the round clock, Mathews shook Crolla’s legs up with a head-bound left that backed the former champion onto the ropes. The consequent bombardment was enough to inspire the referee to intervene and stop Crolla – controversially – on his feet.

It was unfortunately what is commonly perceived to be a ‘British stoppage’. From referee John Keane, it came prematurely as there were just four seconds left till the minute’s break, it was only the head shot that hurt Crolla and the subsequent punches were either parried, avoided or not struck with the necessary venom to call an end to a fight that had been shaping up to be a fight of the year contender.

“I thought it could have been stopped earlier on,” said Mathews to Sky Sports One after the official announcement. “It’s the best [domestic] division out there with Ricky Burns and Kevin Mitchell but I want to make a defence of this [the Lonsdale belt].

“I was too strong [and to be British champion] I’m delighted,” he concluded.

Mathews rose to 30-6-1, 16ko while Crolla slumped to 23-3-0, 9ko.

Elsewhere on the card, one of Britain’s most promising prospects regardless of weight division – Matty Askin – was defeated for the first time in his career as the Central Area cruiserweight titlist failed in his attempt to add the English belt to his honours roll. He was unstuck by Jon Lewis Dickinson, a former champion of the popular Prizefighter franchise, who amassed a healthy lead on all three of the judges’ scorecards.

Dawson’s scorecard

Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
9 9 9 9 9 9 9 10 9 10

10 10 10
10 10 10 10 9 10 9

Official verdict: Dickinson by decision (97-93, 97-93, 98-93).

Trainer Bob Shannon will hope his pre-fight declaration that the match-up with Jon Lewis Dickinson will be a career-defining fight for his man, Matty Askin, will turn out to be a false prophecy as the popular Blackpool basher did not seem his usual powerful headhunting self and lost a ten round decision to the new English cruiserweight titlist.

From the off, Dickinson appeared the more comfortable as he unleashed effortless orthodox jabs and uppercuts. That is not to say Askin was substandard… no, when his staple power shots were called upon he was able to pierce Dickinson’s upright guard at times but for the duration of the bout this was the exception rather than the rule. And, in round two, Geordie Jon Lewis did the same to Askin’s shield – with a jab. Askin became over-reliant on the overhand right, perhaps looking to punish and even put Dickinson down early, which was to head coach Bob Shannon’s chagrin who reminded Matty between rounds he was not following their game-plan.

Askin began rounds well. In the fourth, for example, he came out the traps loading up on a chin-checking right hand as well as cracking the ribs with lefts. When Dickinson stepped inside, he’d be met with a stiff jab but as stanzas entered the second and third minutes, Dickinson took over and it was his second/third shots that were the more eye-catching and, troubling for Askin, the more damaging as he returned to his stool prior to the fifth with claret smeared over his upper lip, Monroe and his philtrum.

Dickinson’s success came down to only throwing solitary shots during in-fighting when he’d tuck a hook into the midsection. When boxing from mid-range, he’d throw in two and three punch combinations which boosted his shots landed statistic. The jab began his moves, he bossed the tempo, was oft the first to get his shots off and was cutting Askin up as a laceration opened below the Assassin’s eye in the fifth.

Dickinson’s shot selection was superior to Askin’s until moments in the eighth where, instead of looking to drop Dickinson with the overhand right, he’d pound Jon Lewis’ ribs with right hooks before sending uppercuts to the floorboards of his roof. Such was the one-sided nature of the fight, Askin had to seek a knockout in the ninth and tenth if he were to steal the victory, however, whilst he fought with intent and urgency in the final stanza – pummeling each side of Dickinson’s body – it was not enough to significantly hurt the 25-year-old from County Durham.

In a 50/50 fight, Dickinson’s triumph was not unlikely, but the ease in which he was able to outbox Askin will have surprised observers as the Birtley boxer added the vacant English cruiserweight title and a mandatory shot at Enzo Maccarinelli’s coveted British championship to his 2010 Prizefighter glory.

Askin was busier than Dickinson, but it was the latter who landed more often… 105 to Matty’s 67, ensuring the scoring of the bout was straight forward as Jon Lewis Dickinson saw his record move 11-2-0, 3ko while Askin suffered his first defeat and goes down to 13-1-0, 9ko.

Frank Maloney stated to Sky Sports One that victory over an erstwhile undefeated Askin was only the start of a global plan: “This guy is a fighter and he will be champion in Britain and the world in years to come.”

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