LIVERPOOL, England — Hometown fighter Derry Mathews won the interim WBA lightweight title after beating Tony Luis of Canada by unanimous decision at Echo Arena on Saturday.
Luis was drafted in at the last minute. Richar Abril of Cuba pulled out of the fight twice due to illness and was stripped of the belt, and replacement Ismael Barroso of Venezuela had to withdraw when he couldn't obtain a visa.
Luis was aggressive and unyielding, but Mathews largely controlled the fight until the end, when Luis' late rally wasn't enough for the judges, who gave it to Mathews by 114-112, 114-112, 115-112.
Mathews improved to 38-9-2 (20 KO) with his first major world title, while Luis dropped to 19-3 (7 KO).