NEXT STOP FOR ME – THE 02 ARENA
There was nothing routine about the BoxNation bow of the former English welterweight champion Johnny Garton when he took to the ring at the Copper Box in December bidding to win the IBF European title against Mihail Orlov.
The 30-year-old was forced to dig deep into his reserves to record a 10th round stoppage of the resolute Moldovan and his prize is a slot on the blockbuster 02 Arena bill on April 14 in support of double world title headline acts.
The Pexican takes up the story in his first Fighter Diary column…
FIGHTER DIARY BY JOHNNY GARTON
THE UP SIDE last time out was winning a nice belt in the IBF European, but it was a tough old fight and I made hard work of it.
I wasn’t happy with my performance and I should have made it a lot more comfortable by boxing but I am one of those that enjoy a fight and I just sort of got stuck in and couldn’t get out of that mode.
I didn’t underestimate Orlov and knew I was in for a tough fight, but I also think that about everyone I am fighting. I don’t know if it was about being so long out of the ring, but I got sucked into a fight and didn’t stick to my boxing when I should’ve.
My corner was screaming at me to box and, in the early rounds when I was boxing, I was making it easy. Then I got drawn into a slugfest and luckily enough I got the stoppage.
I thought on the night that I was behind before I heard later I was up on the cards by one point. A lot of people would have had me behind and I think the commentators did.
Going into the tenth I thought I was behind by maybe two or three rounds so I knew I had to pull something out of the bag.
Did fighting in a big arena on a big show have an effect on me? Maybe it did, I don’t know, but we will find out on April 14 when I step out at the 02!
Having such a tricky fight suited me just fine because I have always done it the hard way and will fight anyone, it really doesn’t matter to me.
Being in these fights tells me what I need to know about myself because it is definitely the level I want to operate at. It wasn’t a gut check because I know in myself that I would never quit. It is something I wouldn’t do and I would rather get bashed up, to be honest with you.
It is just good to know that I can dig deep when I have to, while it has basically given me a kick up the bum because I know that I got away with it on the night when on another night I wouldn’t.
The message from it is that I’ve got to stick to my boxing and be a bit more clever really.
Winning an international belt was perfect for me because it sets me off along two tracks. I want to win the British and, at the same time, I now also have a world ranking.
The British is on hold at the moment because I can’t fight Brad (champion, Skeete) because he is in my stable and I’ve got to wait for him to vacate it.
I would have liked to have had a shot at it on the April show, but it is not to be just yet so we will have to wait until later in the year.
I do give Brad a little nudge and a dig every now and again to remind him that we are waiting on him! But sometimes you have to be a bit selfish in this sport and I support him in everything he does.
Hopefully he will let it go once he wins the European title in April over in Spain.
I am a lot closer to home for my April fight, the 02 is pretty local for me and it is a brilliant show to be on.
Billy Joe Saunders v Martin Murray is a great fight, along with Terry Flanagan v Maurice Hooker, plus Ohara Davies and Lewis and Jake Pettitt from my gym. It is a great card to be added to and I will have no problem selling my tickets!
I haven’t boxed at the 02, but it is a lovely venue and I have seen a few fights there, including DeGale v Groves, which was a great atmosphere.
When my people look at the bill and the venue they will jump at the chance of coming along to support.
This will be a tune up fight for me before hopefully challenging for the British in possibly June, but I will take it fight by fight and see what happens.
On the British front, once Brad is out of the way I think it opens right up and we are all on pretty much level peggings. You’ve got Tamuka Mucha, Gary Corcoran, John O’Donnell and lots of others in the mix with some great and exciting fights to be made.
I honestly think Brad is a level above us all and he would make it easy for himself, but the rest of us match up quite well and it would make for good 50-50 fights.