Rees picks up British belt with brutal knock-out victory over Matthews
Gavin Rees added the British lightweight title to his European crown with a brutal nine-round triumph over Derry Mathews in Sheffield.
In a rematch of their October meeting for the same belt, where an accidental clash of heads left Mathews with a broken nose and resulted in a technical draw, Welshman Rees came back from a sluggish start to overwhelm his game foe.
Rees, a former WBA champion at light-welterweight, will now harbour realistic ambitions of becoming a two-division world champion.
Both fighters came into the contest on the back of impressive wins.
All smiles: Gavin Rees (left) and Derry Matthews after their bout
Rees travelled to Paris in March where he systematically dismantled home favourite Anthony Mezaache, while Mathews produced a huge upset to thrillingly rip the British title from Anthony Crolla inside six rounds a month later.
Jumping for joy: Gavin Rees reacts to knocking out Derry Matthews
The champion's' customary come-forward style was evident in the opener, although he began to neglect the jab, allowing Mathews to pick him off with a pair of eye-catching combinations and steel the round.
After controlling the distance well over the following three minutes, Mathews found himself in trouble a Rees upped the tempo in the third.
A chopping overhand right from the 32-year-old started a frenzied flurry, the result of which was a cut just above Mathews' right eye as the fighters' heads came together.
Rees soon pinned his man in the corner, unleashing punishing hooks to the body, but the 28-year-old Liverpudlian was unperturbed and ended the session beckoning some central ring trading.
Having landed flush with a pair of right hands to no noticeable effect in five, Mathews' knees momentarily appeared to buckle in the closing second of the round as Rees found his jaw with a shot right hook.
The left to the body proved fruitful for Rees in six and he pro ceded to dominate the middle rounds - the bell coming to Mathews' rescue in eight as a left uppercut and overhand right sent him reeling into the ropes.
In reality the challenger was running on empty and following more relentless pressure, a right flush to the jaw followed by a beautifully timed left from Rees ended the contest.
Champion: Gavin Rees poses with his belts
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