Canadian lightweight Tony “Lightning” Luis (19-3, 7 KOs) says he’s disappointed with the scoring of his controversial unanimous-decision loss last weekend to Derry Mathews (38-9-2, 20 KOs) for the interim WBA Lightweight title in Matthews’ hometown of Liverpool, England, but won’t let it deter him from his goals.
Despite taking the fight on three days’ notice, Luis seemed to outwork Matthews in most rounds and would probably be wearing a championship belt today, had the fight been contested on neutral ground. Unfortunately, the European judges saw it another way, scoring it 114-112 (Jean Legland, FRA), 115-112 (Dave Parris, UK) and 114-112 (Stefano Carozza, ITA), all for Matthews.
“I can’t say I feel good,” said Luis, home safely in Cornwall, Ontario. “This was my shot and I didn’t get the decision, but I know with my performance, I’ll get another one. Most of the press and the fans, especially in North America, know what’s up and saw the fight for what it really was. Derry did what he had to do to survive but not enough to win. He was cagey and made the fight look more competitive than it was, and that’s what a veteran is supposed to do.”
Despite his disappointment in the scoring, Luis says taking the fight was still a good career choice. “It was absolutely the right decision. You don’t turn down a title shot. But taking it on three days’ notice, we knew we’d have to shake off the jetlag quickly. My game plan was good, but on such short notice, it wasn’t muscle memory. I had to keep thinking about it in the ring. That’s why I think it took me three rounds to get going. Despite all this, I still won the fight. Now I know I belong among the champions in this division and that’s a good feeling.”
Luis’ promoter, Greg Cohen of Greg Cohen Promotions, says he’s pleased with his fighter’s strong performance and will immediately go to work for the 27-year-old.
“Tony looked sensational on Saturday,” said Cohen. “Taking the fight on such short notice, you’d think fatigue would play a role, but he was a machine in there. That shows you how hard he works in the gym. Of course we’re disappointed in the scoring, but looking at the big picture, we now know we have a championship-caliber fighter in Tony. He responded perfectly to the pressure of a world championship fight. I will be petitioning the sanctioning bodies to keep Tony high up in the ratings and give him another title shot very soon. This time on neutral ground.”
Luis will be returning to action quickly, he is set to fight for a regional title against an opponent TBA on June 26 at the Seneca Niagara Event Center in Niagara Falls, New York, and live on CBS Sports Network.
“I’m a bit discouraged from the politics,” continued Luis, “but am I deterred from my goals? Absolutely not. The people have spoken, the fans know who won and that is consolation for me. I will keep moving forward!”