WITH British boxing on a high, the quality match ups continue this Saturday October 22 as domestic stalwart Jason Booth 36-7 (15) makes the fifth defence of his British super bantamweight title against Bury hot shot Scott Quigg 22-0 (15) at Bolton’s Reebok Stadium in an intriguing battle of youth versus experience.
The 33-year-old champion, known as “2 Smooth”, has thrilled the British fighting public up and down the country with his blend of old school skills and never say die attitude ever since his emergence on the scene as a diminutive flyweight back in 1996. One of two fighting brothers from the tough streets of Nottingham, the four time European title challenger has effectively had two careers. Under the guidance of Frank Maloney, Booth seemed to be on our screens every week as he had the Harvey Hadden Leisure centre in his home town rocking against a variety of opponents. Behind his happy go lucky demeanour however, Booth was battling an addiction to alcohol and in 2004 after his loss to Irishman Damian Kelley he was forced to curtail his career in the ring to face his personal problems.
A modern day domestic great, Booth has started to show signs he is reaching the end of his competitiveness at the top level and is coming off a loss to European champion Kiko Martinez, suffering his first ever stoppage defeat at the hands of the hard punching Spaniard, but you can’t help thinking a prime Booth would have had too much guile for the one dimensional champion. Booth’s long time promoter Frank Maloney has warned the champion defeat against Quigg could spell the end of his title winning days “I have had some great nights with Jason and he is a pleasure to promote” said Maloney, “But if he loses to Scott, and he will start as an underdog, it will be difficult to keep him in the title picture”. So this is truly a cross roads fight, defeat for the popular champion could effectively end his career but victory for Quigg could see him challenge for major honours in the near future.
The undefeated 22-year-old from Greater Manchester has recently switched camps and is now under the tutelage of Joe Gallagher who has been impressed with Quigg’s work so far in the gym. “It’s exciting to train someone like Scott” said Gallagher, “Not just because of his potential but because so many in the trade rate him so highly”. With the availability of top class sparring with the likes of the Smith brothers, Joe Murray, Anthony Crolla and some top amateurs, Quigg has all he needs to reach the very top. He has shown gradual improvement over the course of his 22 fights, guided expertly by Hatton Promotions , who have matched him well in bouts to learn his craft. Does he know enough at this stage to oust the crafty technician from Nottingham?
At 5ft 8ins Quigg holds a significant height advantage over the naturally smaller Booth and has the tools to make this an easy night’s work, but the gritty veteran will be looking to use his experience to somehow get a foot hold in the contest early. Quigg has so far shown good adaptability and will believe he can deal with anything thrown at him. In September 2010 he picked up the WBA Inter Continental bauble with an impressive third round knockout of Santiago Allione and in his most recent outing in July this year he defended that belt in a fight that also acted as an eliminator for the full WBA title at super bantamweight, stopping Franklin Varela with a body shot in the seventh.
At the veteran stage of his career, and his very future on the line, can Booth roll back the years for one last great performance to add to his resume?, or will the younger, fresher challenger prove too much for him?
In theory it doesn’t bode well for Booth. He has shown increasing vulnerability in his most recent fights and cannot sustain the once ferocious work rate that made him so hard to beat at domestic level. He has done well to maintain a career up at super bantamweight but will be outsized by the Bury man, but I can see him posing some problems for the youngster to solve which will make the fight intriguing for as long as it lasts. However, I can see only one winner, and that is Quigg to out box Booth over the championship distance to well and truly confirm a changing of the guard.
The undercard features prospect Joe Hughes 4-0 (2) take on fellow unbeaten Chad Gaynor 6-0 (4) from Rotherham in a light welterweight contest with Hughes highly regarded by promoter Frank Maloney.
Ashton Under Lyne’s Jon Kays also returns to action after his brave effort against Liam Appleby ended in defeat in a challenge for the Commonwealth super featherweight title. The 28-year-old will be looking to get back to winning ways on Saturday.
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