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Tseveeenpurev Crushes Matthews

Derry MathewsBy Aaron Klein: In a rather shocking upset, previously unbeaten WBU Featherweight champion Derry Matthews (20-1, 11 KOs) was annihilated by his Mongolian challenger Choi Tseveeenpurev (27-4, 19 KOs) in a 5th round KO loss at the Bolton Arena, Bolton, in Lancashire on Friday night. Matthews, 24, was knocked down a grand total of five times by Tseveenpurev – three times in the third and twice in the fifth round – eventually leading to the referee Dave Parris calling a halt to the bout after the fifth knock down of the fight at 3:00 of the 5th round.

Tseveenpurev, 36, hadn’t been expected to put up such a strong fight, as he’d previously been beaten by a number of fighters, including Willie Limond. However, a fighter with power and fighting style very similar to Kostya Tszyu, was noted for his incredible strength in the ring, in particular with sparring with the top British fighters. He showed dramatic improvement since his last loss four years ago to Limond, focusing on fighting much more aggressively from the outset and making it a point to try and rough up Matthews.

In that, Tseveenpurev did exceptionally well as he immediately attacked Matthews with an animal frenzy from the opening bell, throwing nothing but huge lunging shots while at the same time roughing up Matthews in the process. Matthews, a tall slender fighter accustomed to having his way with less aggressive fighters, wasn’t nearly strong enough to contend with Tseveenpurev’s rough tactics, and soon found himself being pushed to the ground, bumped into, hit with rabbit punches and bent like a pretzel by the powerful Tseveenpurev.

In a way, it seemed as if Tseveenpurev was trying to break the slim-framed Matthews. In that, he pretty much accomplished what he had set out to do. Matthews didn’t know how to deal with the pressure in the first round, as he was unable to stand his ground due to Tseveenpurev, a fighter with a stocky, powerful build, was constantly coming at him to try and take his head off. However, it didn’t help for Matthews to move around the ring either, for Tseveenpurev was especially clever at cutting off the ring and charging in on Matthews to land big right and left hand bombs to the head. Matthews still fought remarkable well in the first round, showing excellent movement and the ability to punch while on the move. He was hit a number of times by big shots in the round, yet he returned fire quite well and appeared to win the round by a narrow margin.

Tseveenpurev turned up the aggression a notch in the 2nd round as he began to come at Matthews incredibly hard, actually running at him in a quick burst of speed and landing huge shots. It didn’t matter if he missed because he’d bump into Matthews and knock him off balance, making him vulnerable for another shot. The first minute of the second round was somewhat close as Matthews was landing well and catching Tseveenpurev in his unorthodox attacks.

I’m quite certain, however, that Matthews didn’t know what he was seeing in the ring because Tseveenpurev fought nothing like any fighters that I’ve seen, except for perhaps Aaron Pryor. Tseveenpurev, though, was even more aggressive than that, and seemed to be a combination of Pryor with the power and energy of a young Tszyu. There was little wonder that Matthews would have a hard time trying to deal with this style because he’d never had the misfortune of having to deal with it. In the second half of the round, Tseveenpurev appeared to hurt Matthews with a couple of huge right hands to the jaw. This led to Tseveenpurev finishing the round incredibly strong as he hit Matthews with eight unanswered shots to end the round.

In the third round, Tseveenpurev tagged Matthews with a big left hand and then grabbed a hold of him and started bending him as if he were attempting to break him in half. The referee pulled Tseveenpurev off of Matthews and warned him about rough fighting, to which Tseveenpurev quickly bowed as if to say sorry. Shortly after that, Tseveenpurev a powerful right hand followed by another right to the head that dropped Matthews to the canvas. Matthews got up and the action resumed by Tseveenpurev flattened Matthews with the first right he threw.

I expected Matthew’s corner to step in at this point because he seemed badly hurt, and didn’t seem to be able to make it much longer without getting stopped. Even if there wasn’t a knockdown, Matthews would have been in a bad situation in that Tseveenpurev was landing tremendous shots, the kind that often lead to later knockdowns if not immediate. This time after Matthews got up, he fought for his life against Tseveenpurev, throwing flurries of shots and catching him a number of times. However, it didn’t take long for Tseveenpurev to knock Matthews to the canvas for the third time in the round.

Matthews barely beat the count, getting up off the canvas at the count of nine. I fully expected his corner to stop it now, for he was in no condition to continue fighting and was only going to get further hurt by this fighter. However, Matthews’s corner sent him out for the 4th round, and incredibly he responded well as he took the fight to Tseveenpurev, and in fact ended up winning the round comfortably. However, part of that reason was due to Tseveenpurev suddenly becoming much more economical with his punch output, slowing down dramatically with the amount of punches he was throwing. My thoughts were that this was perhaps the main reason that Tseveenpurev hadn’t become a world champion years ago, for he definitely showed the skills in the first three rounds to be fighter capable of winning a major title.

However, my thoughts are that he probably wasn’t aggressive enough early on in his career and this resulted in him being beaten a number of times. Whatever the case, he did almost nothing in the 4th round and looked as if he might have punched himself out or something. This allowed Matthews to land well, hitting Tseveenpurev with some powerful right hands. By the end of the round, I was beginning to imagine that Matthews might turn around and score a knockout of his own and would reverse the outcome of the bout. Those thoughts were erased in the 5th when Tseveenpurev came out looking exactly as he did in the first three round, throwing every shot as if he were trying to take Matthew’s head off.

Tseveenpurev did almost all the punching in the round, and was warned for pushing Matthews from behind. It began to look bad again when Tseveenpurev drove Matthews though the ropes where he hung in between them as Tseveenpurev teed off on him without let up. The referee stepped in and pulled Matthews out between the ropes, saving him from the likelihood of being knocked out of the ring.

Immediately after that, Tseveenpurev ran at Matthews and hit him with a big right hand, staggering him in the process. He then followed another right hand and then a left to the midsection that dropped Matthews to the canvas. Upon getting up, which I couldn’t believe he actually did, Tseveenpurev landed a final left hook to the body, knocking Matthews down for the fifth and final time in the fight. At this point, referee Dave Parris moved in and halted the slaughter.

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