The visitor controlled the opening three minutes using hyperactive movement and quick-fisted assaults. Matthews, who looked a tired fighter here and, indeed, far beyond his 28 years, had no answer to his opponent’s speedy attacking. He was further hampered when the fractured nose he had suffered last time out came back to haunt him (seemingly in round 2, although Matthews claimed afterwards that it had been busted in training and that actually, it had crumpled in the opener). After Marsili began hammering him with looping lefts in the 2nd, Matthews’ injury began to pour as his prospects dimmed.
“Dirty” rallied for a short spell at the beginning of round 3 yet Marsili’s urgent and more consistent work kept him in the box-seat. Matthews landed a head-spinning right cross in the 4th and appeared to have turned the match on a sixpence in the subsequent session when he started to set about Marsili with straight and accurate hitting.
Round 6 was a dandy. With both men sporting a variety of wounds, Matthews whipped home yet another long and spearing right hand which punctured the Italian’s eye and stunned him into the bargain. Spurred on and with his fans in raptures, Matthews proceeded to work his man over for an extended period against the ropes. Marsili, though, responded strongly towards the back end of the session. Refusing to surrender, Marsili moved Matthews back into his own corner. There, he unleashed a series of right uppercuts punctuated with a left hook to the liver which smacked into the home favourite’s flank and sat him down onto the seat of his pants.
Matthews managed to hang on grimly to survive the round, only to succumb at 1:21 of the next after a protracted hiding up against the strands. Marsili, a dead ringer for Mexican lightweight Urbano Antillon (especially after he’d been beaten up a little bit), was great value for the win. It is to be hoped that at 35, and after this impressive and competent performance on the road, a decent payday now lies in wait.