Terry Flanagan retained his title in Liverpool
Terry Flanagan retained his title in Liverpool Getty Images

Terry Flanagan recorded a unanimous points victory over Derry Mathews in Liverpool to retain his WBO lightweight title. The 26-year-old champion overcame a sluggish start before taking control of the contest and winning easily in the end.

Flanagan was awarded the contest 117-110, 117-110 and 115-112 by the three ringside judges. The Manchester-born fighter, who was making a second defence of the title he won last year against Jose Zepeda, was troubled by a couple of big punches in the fifth round, while he also appeared to be bothered by frequent warnings from the referee.

However, he took complete control of the fight in the second half of the bout, catching Mathews with a right hook in the seventh round. And by the end of the 11th, it was apparent Matthews required a knockout to rescue the contest – but it did not materialise.

Flanagan's victory opens up the prospect of a unification fight against Anthony Crolla, assuming the Mancunian succeeds in his first defence against Venezuela's Ismael Barroso.