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25 Jan 2013
Argentine light-welter Lucas Matthysse can make a strong claim
to be considered the most devastating puncher operating in boxing
Born in Trelew, approximately 800 miles south of Buenos Aires, the 30 year old WBC interim champion has wasted 30 of his 32 victims ahead of schedule. BoxNation subscribers will get a chance to catch a glimpse of the beast - it might be brief - when he makes a maiden defence of his title against Bakersfield, California's Mike Dallas Junior at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas this Saturday.
The bull strong 5ft 61/2 in Argentine was born into a fighting family. Dad Mario was a useful light-middleweight contender in the 1980s while elder brother Walter once went 25-0 (24 stoppages!) before having his bubble popped by Paul 'The Punisher' Williams (lko10), the Kermit Cintron who iced him in two in a July 2007 IBF welterweight title challenge. Lucas's mother Doris and sister Edith have also laced the gloves competitively.
Indeed, it was mum not dad who inducted the former gang fighter into the Noble Art when Lucas was just 11. His amateur career extended close to 100 contests, included national titles and international singlets, and peaked at the 2003 Pan American Games when he blitzed Amir Khan conqueror Breidis Prescott inside a round.
He might have achieved even more had his unpaid tenure not coincided with Santa Fe's equally savage Marcos Maidana, the one time WBA light-welter boss, who mastered him in three of their four collisions (the fourth bout was a draw).
Since debuting as a pro in June 2004, Matthysse has wiped out 27 of his 34 opponents inside the opening four rounds. His scalp list includes ex world champions 'Vicious' Vivian Harris (rsc4), DeMarcus Corley (rsc8) and Humberto Soto (rtd5). In his most recent gig, he hunted down, then ravaged London based Nigerian Ajose Olusegun (30-0 going in) in round ten to collect his interim belt in a fantastic fight.
Even the two smudges on his card are contestable. Slick southpaw world champions Zab Judah and Devon Alexander were both put on their backs before eloping with split and highly debatable decisions over 12 and 10 rounds respectively in the 2010-11 season.
Aggressive and relentless, with a vicious body attack, the Golden Boy promoted star has lately been looking to add some smarts to his game, training alongside Sergio Martinez, the world's leading middleweight at Pablo Sarmiento's World Crown Sports Gym in Oxnard, California.
Opponent Dallas Junior has compiled a 19-2-1 slate at a level a few rungs beneath and a knockout loss to Josesito Lopez two years back does not bode well for his prospects of staving off Matthysse.
On the bright side, 'The Silent Assassin' shall enter with significant edges in height and reach and, at just 26, will not be without ambition.
He, too, is the son of a former pro. Mike Senior boxed as a southpaw lightweight with moderate success throughout the 90s and his passing in late November is sure to galvanise Junior's effort this weekend.
The challenger certainly brings a strong amateur pedigree. Victorious in 115 of 127 unpaid spats, he bagged the 2006 National PAL championship and twice competed at the US Olympic Trials. In 2008, he was thwarted by current WBA king Danny Garcia.
Highly skilled, he shall bring the type of flighty, evasive ring style that has given Matthysse fits previously and the recent addition of master strategist Virgil Hunter (whose client list contains Andre Ward and Amir Khan) to his back-up team shan't harm.
It's certainly conceivable that the Californian stylist could assume an early command but he simply appears to lack the brawn required to repel the Argentine bull for the 36 minute duration of a championship battle.
Expect Matthysse to close the gap as each round passes and eventually execute the cull, sometime after half way, and strengthen his claim for a showdown with WBA boss Danny Garcia, later this year.
There could be more fireworks in the chief support when Turkey's world rated welter Selcuk Aydin squares off with LA based Mexican Jesus Soto Karass over ten rounds.
Last time out the tank-like Turk conceded his unbeaten tag when another California based Latino Robert Guerrero took him to school over 12 in a lively clash for the vacant WBC interim title in San Jose.
Latterly, the 29 year old has hooked up with Londoner Adam Booth (mentor to David Haye and George Groves) at his Vauxhall gym, no doubt seeking to add the finesse needed to supplement his unquestionable muscle and explosive punching.
'The Thunderstorm From The Black Sea' is a colourful character; a physical monster with a mustard temper. Diehard fans might recall him as the hothead who was slung out of the amateur code following a 2006 contest with Frankie Gavin at the European Championships, after 'Mini Tyson' was red carded for punching the referee!
It was an ignoble end to an otherwise illustrious time with the 'simon pures', in which he'd previously struck gold at both the European Cadets (1999) and European Juniors (2001) plus medalled at the World Juniors and European Seniors (twice).
A native of Trabzon, he relocated to Hamburg, Germany to kick start his professional innings, promoted by Ahmet Oner and coached by Conny Mittermeier, in November 2006. Alternating between Germany and his homeland, (he has also aired in Spain and the US), he raced to 23 successive wins with an ominous 17 before the final bell.
En route he collected the WBC International, European and WBC Silver belts and his cosmopolitan scalp list includes South Africa's 25-4 Lucky Lewele (pts12), Ecuador's 22-3 Luis Hernandez (rsc1), Morocco's 25-2 Said Ouali (pts12), Belgium's 30-2 Jackson Osei Bonsu (ko9) and 26-0 Canadian southpaw Jo Jo Dan whom he twice outpointed, snapping the Canuck's jaw in their latter spat. Clearly he has heavy hands.
His 30 year old opponent, a native of Los Mochis, brings reasonable 26-8-3-1NC stats but has won just two of his last eight - albeit in good company - and Gabriel Rosado and Marcos Maidana have both beaten him inside the distance during the last 12 months.
Nevertheless, Karass will enjoy significant physical advantages - nothing Aydin hasn't encountered before - and in his prime he was good enough to beat the likes of Saul Roman, Vince Phillips, Michael Rosales David Estrada and Carson Jones.
He should prove competitive without threatening victory. The key intrigue will revolve around whether coach Booth has been able to plane over some of the Turk's cruder excesses. If he has, Aydin, already rated third with the WBC, could register a highly credible stoppage win, that will accelerate his return to world championship competition.
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