By Jack Sumner @Jack_Sumner_
Martin Gethin came up short in his IBF world title eliminator with Ammeth Diaz, stopped in the seventh round by the experienced Panamanian puncher. Fighting in his hometown of Walsall, Gethin had moments of success throughout the early rounds, but was hurt and dropped several times as a gulf in levels gradually appeared between the two men.
‘Credit to Diaz, he's a very good fighter,’ the 29-year-old Midlander said, ‘He can punch, my ear was perforated in the fifth and it knocked me and the gameplan went out of the window to an extent.
'It's all come very quickly - I only won the British title in my last fight - so my head isn't dropping too much.'
Gethin made a tentative start and offered little in the opening round, no doubt battling the nerves that accompanied the magnitude of the event. That was coupled with an apparent respect for his opponent who was able to get his punches off first and landed the cleaner, harder blows to take the round.
That fired Gethin up however and the ‘Quiet Man’ would find his voice in the second session, fighting back and landed decent shots of his own to level the score.
The pendulum swung Diaz’s way again in the third but he didn’t have it all his own way in a closely contested three minutes and in the fourth Gethin stepped it up a gear to have his best round of the fight. Peppering the Panamanian with the jab and landing combinations, at that stage the proceedings were looking very positive for the home fighter and he followed it up by rocking back the head of Diaz with a right hand early in the fifth.
Gethin got his chin checked also as Diaz scored with hard shots but he came back to stagger his opponent again with a left hook in the closing stages of the round. Each man had the other hurt, but the power ultimately lay with Diaz and Gethin’s punches weren’t having a lasting effect.
The same couldn’t be said of the punches of the visiting fighter, who forced Gethin to take a knee in the sixth. A hurtful right hand landed flush to stun the Walsall man momentarily and force him back onto his heels, before he dipped to the canvas to avoid further punishment with Diaz rushing in.
Disconsolate in the corner before going out for the seventh, Gethin dug deep to rally and force Diaz back with a flurry. It was a brave effort from the Englishmen, with that perforated ear and what looked to be a broken nose, but as the two men traded with Gethin pressing the action, he was forced to take a knee once again and took an eight-count for the second time.
He would be on his knees for a third time after Diaz followed up a right with a hard left and sucking in, Gethin summoned the energy to return to his feet. But by the time he motioned to get up, referee Howard Foster had reached the end of his count and waved the fight off to award Diaz the knockout victory.
Diaz will now challenge IBF champion Miguel Vasquez for a second time, whilst Gethin will surely return to domestic level. World level was too much for Walsall’s hero on this occasion, but it’s a learning curve and Gethin has come back from damaging defeats before.