Thursday, October 15, 2009

British Scene: Jason Booth vs Michael Hunter Preview

Matt Chudley previews tomorrow night's British super-bantamweight title showdown between Jason Booth and Michael Hunter.

Tomorrow night at the Seaburn Centre in Sunderland, Jason Booth makes the 2nd defense of his British super-bantamweight title, and faces his first true test at the weight in the form of former world title challenger Michael Hunter.

With Sunderland's favourite son Tony Jeffries anchoring the card there are also a number of Britain’s finest prospects on show including the latest addition to the Frank Maloney stable, heavyweight Olympic Bronze medalist David Price in only his second pro fight.

Friday's action will also mark Frank Maloney return to the business after the tragic death of young charge Darren Sutherland and his own heart issues, with the amiable Londoner back in the fold sooner than his doctors would like but giving assurances that he will sit back in the stands and try to become less involved in the fights themselves.

Having shown much promise early in his career, but failing to capture a European title on three previous occasions, Booth has spent much of his career bouncing around the shallow lower weights in the UK. Now at age 31, it looks like he may have just found his niche in the super-bantamweight division. Having moved up in weight back in April for a shot at the vacant British title against Mark Moran on only 10 days notice, the Nottingham slickster put forth arguably the best performance of his career in outclassing the previously undefeated Moran.

While Booth has looked impressive at the weight thus far, it remains to be seen if that is more down to the opponents in the untested Moran and the game but limited Rocky Dean. Against Hunter, he’ll be giving up a significant height and reach advantage and will be looking to once again rely on his quick hands and sharp reflexes to better the naturally bigger man.

Should Booth come through this tough assignment, a big local Derby with friend Rendall Munroe, who defends his European title in November could lie ahead or the possibility of a rubber match with longtime rival Ian Napa.

A former holder of the British, Commonwealth and European Super-Bantamweight titles, Michael Hunter returns to the limelight for the first time since being stopped by Steve Molitor back in November of 2006. Fighting in his hometown of Hartlepool, Hunter was favoured by many going into the fight, but was conclusively stopped by Molitor after 5 one sided rounds. He has since taken three tune-up fights but has yet to fight in 2009.

Named the mandatory challenger for Booth's Lonsdale belt by the board of control, Hunter will be looking to reassert his dominance on the domestic scene. Well supported and not travelling too far from home, he should be able to count on a larger contingent of supporters despite not being the house fighter and can probably count on the support of the many Tony Jeffries fans who will be filling out the arena. Tall for the weight at over 5'7, Hunter will be looking use his size advantages and renowned work rate to press Booth and will likely look to attack the body early to slow the skilled title holder down.

On The Undercard...

The main attraction for the locals and already one of the bigger ticket sellers in the UK, Tony Jeffries will be looking to make it a perfect 4-0 to start his career when he takes on 10-17 Belarussian light-heavyweight champion Artem Solomko.

Having left Hayemaker Promotions after the collapse of Setanta, Olympic Bronze Medalist David Price will be making his debut under the FTM banner against 0-1 German Liridon Memishi. The 6’8 scouser will be eager to get back in the ring having been on the sidelines since March, and will be looking to come through unscathed as he’s scheduled to fight again in Bolton on the 23rd.

Another casualty of the Setanta fiasco, George Groves will be looking to prove that he is still one of the hottest prospects in the UK against 4-4 Lithuanian Tadas Jonkus. Also vying for plaudits, is Groves's amateur nemesis Travis Dickinson who faces debuting Steffan Hughes a division up at light heavy.

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