Press Association Sport (@barnettoPA) – British lightweight champion Martin Gethin finds himself on the verge of a world title shot four years after he considered giving up on boxing for good.
The Walsall fighter suffered three successive defeats earlier in his career after an unbeaten start as a professional.
The third of those came against unheralded journeyman Chris Long in 2009 and left Gethin seriously considering hanging up his gloves. But the 29-year-old instead knuckled down and put together a run of form which saw him claim the British belt and secure a final eliminator for the IBF world title this month.
Victory against Panama’s Ameth Diaz at Walsall Town Hall on May 31 will secure Gethin (24-3-1, 11KO wins) a shot at champion Miguel Vazquez and the Englishman admits the turnaround in form has taken even him by surprise.
He told Press Association Sport: “I beat Carl Johanneson to get the IBF international belt and became mandatory challenger for the British title. I won that and I’m going straight for the world title now so it’s all come fast, in the blink of an eye.
“I went through a spell of three straight losses and you do get people who give up after that. But it made me stronger, to come back from that.
I had injury problems with my back but I came through that too and I’ve won five straight to get me where I am now.
“When I had those three losses I did think about calling it a day. I lost to the journeyman (Long) and it was at that point that I thought ‘I won’t get back up there’. But I kept training, doing hard runs and hard circuits and the wins started coming.”
Gethin knows he is reaping the rewards for his determination.
“I didn’t think a world title chance would come this quickly, to be honest,” he said.
“But it shows that hard work gets you what you want.”
Diaz (31-11, 22KOs) is aiming to beat Gethin to earn him a second crack at Vazquez, having lost to the champion when they met last year.