Rejuvenated Walsall warhorse Martin Gethin is on a mission to mash unbeaten world rated super-lightweight Jack Catterall when the pair duke it out in what promises to be a lively 10 rounder for the Chorley starlet’s WBO Inter-Continental strap at Manchester Arena on April 8th, writes Glynn Evans.
A former British lightweight champion, the 33 year old Black Country bruiser ripped up the form book to trounce ex Commonwealth king John Wayne Hibbert at Wembley Arena in late November and knows a similar spot of giant killing against ‘El Gato’ could catapult him back to the cusp of world title contention.
‘Jack’s mandatory for the British and number two in the world with the WBO so I’d have very good things to look forward to if I win,’ claims ‘The Quiet Man’, a thoroughly decent father of two whose humble persona is entirely at odds with the chaos he creates when between the ropes.
‘Realistically, I’ve big ambitions to become a two-weight British champion – that Lonsdale Belt is amazing – and I’d love to fight for the European, I’ve not done that. A world title fight would be a dream.’
Industrial tough and turbo-charged, Gethin fought an IBF final eliminator himself four years ago and has dabbled in altogether stiffer company – Carl Johanneson, Ammeth Diaz, Derry Mathews and Terry Flanagan – than 17-0 Catterall since opting to punch for pay back in 2004. However, on the cusp of world glory in 2013, his career was disrupted by perpetual ear problems.
He explains: ‘Basically, I’d had gromits in my ears since I was six or seven and one became dislodged whilst I was sparring with Ricky Burns in Scotland. Both ears popped in the world title eliminator (lrsc7, Diaz) and it affected me for the British title fights with Derry Mathews and Terry Flanagan. I’ve since had the op to correct it.’
Back at full throttle, hard case Gethin shocked the trade late last year when he answered a late call to serve as an intended sacrifice for Hibbert, dropping and stopping the 17-4 Essex fancy in round four.
‘In my mind, at just four days notice, I had nothing to lose. My body is always naturally fit but I did wonder if I could make it through 10 rounds,’ says Gethin who added the IBF International Super-Lightweight bauble to the Midland Area, English, British and IBF International belts he’d previously collected at 135lbs.
‘Fighting at Wembley was special and shortly before getting into the ring, my wife sent a good luck video from my kids to my phone and that really boosted me up, to give it one last roll of the dice.
‘I’m not sure where it came from but my head movement was ‘spot on’ and every shot was correct and solid. I was hurting Hibbert with every shot and believe I broke his nose with a left hook in round one. I’ve never been the quickest but timing beats speed and I proved I can still keep up a good pace.’
And now for Catterall, one of the best regarded British prospects in any weight class. On a lesser promotion, this battle of the ages would be a worthy bill topper.
However, it simply serves as garnish for a delicious menu that includes Terry Flanagan’s mandatory world title defence against Russia’s Petr Petrov as the main dish but also includes the interim WBO showdown between feuding super-welters Liam Smith and Liam Williams plus the professional inductions of Britain’s greatest Olympic boxer Nicola Adams OBE and teenage heavyweight sensation Daniel Dubois. Boxing is saturated with initials but this is seriously VFM!
Gethin is honoured to be involved.
‘I’ve stayed in the gym since Hibbert and I’ve had plenty of notice for this one so I’ve been able to bring my weight down gradually. For once, I can prepare properly. There’ll be no excuses,’ he concludes.
‘At my age, there’s no value in doing 100s of rounds of hard sparring. I’ve never been a good spar. I just work on my technique, movement and sharpening myself up.
‘For me, it’s all about the little gloves under the ring lights. Catterall be warned!’
Catterall’s showdown with Gethin lands on the undercard of undefeated Terry Flanagan’s fifth WBO World Lightweight Title defence against dangerous Russian Petr Petrov; fierce Super-Welterweight rivals Liam Smith and Liam Williams clash in one of the most eagerly-anticipated all-British showdowns in recent times; double Olympic Gold Medallist and women’s boxing icon Nicola Adams OBE fights for the first time as a professional and former Team GB Heavyweight monster Daniel Dubois makes his highly-anticipated professional debut
Tickets for April 8 priced £50, £70, £100, £150, £200, £300 and VIP £500 are available from eventim at www.eventim.co.uk and 0844 249 1000 and the Manchester Arena at www.manchester-arena.com and 0844 847 8000.