By Jack Sumner @Jack_Sumner_
‘The Quiet Man' of British boxing is ‘Ready To Silence The World’ in his home town on Friday evening, as Martin Gethin headlines the Frank Warren bill in a world title final eliminator at Walsall Town Hall. Gethin takes on Panama’s Ammeth Diaz, a one-time world title challenger, with the winner receiving a shot at the IBF lightweight king, Miguel Vazquez.
It’s fairytale stuff for the 29-year-old Midlands man who remains under the radar and was at one stage ready to quit the sport, following three consecutive defeats in 2009 which culminated in a four round points loss to journeyman Chris Long. Since then however Gethin (24-3-1, 11 KO’s) has won nine straight and stopped his last four opponents, including an eleventh TKO of Carl Johanneson and ninth round stoppage of Ben Murphy, the latter handing him the British title in January.
Despite that sparkling run through the domestic scene that has revitalised his career, Gethin must have to pinch himself to think that he’s merely one win away from challenging for Vazquez’s world crown. Diaz (31-11, 22 KO’s) on the other hand has had the pleasure, if you can call it that, of taking the tricky Mexican to task before, his last defeat a failed attempt to wrest the IBF strap away from ‘The Puppet’.
Diaz lost a landslide points decision to Vazquez in January of 2012, but rebounded with a fifth-round knockout of Stanley Mendez in September of last year. That would curiously keep Diaz at #6 in the IBF rankings, despite Mendez being 8-6-2 and coming off a sixth-round stoppage defeat. Even more curious is the bout with the #10 ranked contender Gethin earning final eliminator status, but take nothing away from Gethin who has charted a steady progression to get this far.
On paper, it’s a big ask for Gethin to go any further with Diaz more experienced, possessing a better resume and the knockout power his record would suggest, but his best days could well be behind him and his career has always been enigmatic. A number of knockout defeats litter between his most impressive wins but he has mixed with and beaten much higher opposition. He holds a four round knockout victory over Raymundo Beltran and shocked the hyped Australian contender Leonardo Zappavigna in his backyard. ‘Zappa’ was heavily favoured and returning home from his only loss – a points defeat to Vazquez would you know – before Diaz tore up the script and put him away in the fifth round.
Coming into Gethin’s manor he won’t be shaken by the hometown support but with an eye on a Vazquez rematch, might he overlook the Quiet Man? Here’s hoping, if it sees him fail to silence the Walsall crowd and keeps Martin on course to silence the world.