by James Slater: Scotland’s super-featherweight Alex Arthur gets the biggest fight of his career next month when he tackles the formidable Joan Guzman for Guzman’s WBO super-featherweight world title in Edinburgh on May the 3rd. To make sure he gets the best possible preparation for his big night, Arthur is heading to Las Vegas to train with former bantamweight king Wayne McCullough, who now lives in Vegas..
Speaking in an interview with The Edinburgh Evening News, the 29 year old Arthur told of his plans. “Wayne [McCullough] will get me sparring with boxers who have similar styles to Guzman while I’m over there so that when I come back to Scotland I will be really sharp,” Arthur said. “This is my biggest fight as a pro and as a champion,” he added.
Of course, Arthur is the current WBO super-featherweight interim champion, having defeated Georgia’s Koba Gogoladze by 10th round TKO to win that distinction back in July of last year. After having made one successful defence of the interim version of the belt, with a points win over Salford’s Stephen Foster Junior in December, Arthur is now ready to meet the superb fighter from The Dominican Republic for the real thing.
Beating the excellent 31 year old will not be easy, however. For even though Arthur will have a huge plus with the fight taking place in his native Edinburgh, Guzmam will not be at all intimidated. A fine boxer with a respectable punch, Guzman, 28-0(17) has seen off all comers in a title reign that began back in September of 2006. On that date, against the warrior that is Jorge Barrios, Guzman won in an impressive manner – claiming the belt with a surprisingly close spilt decision. It looked to most observers as though the fighter known as “El Pequeno Tyson” had won by a larger margin. Still, the title was now Guzman’s (his second, having also won the WBO super-bantamweight belt back in 2002, defending it twice before going up in weight).
Since capturing the WBO 130 pound championship, Guzman has defended it twice, most noticeably while out-boxing Mexico’s dangerous Humberto Soto last time out in November. Now, in the 26-1(19) Arthur, though he has to go to the Scot’s backyard to fight him, Guzman will surely be facing nothing he feels he cannot handle. “Amazing,” as Arthur is known, is a very good fighter, but Guzman looks to be something a little bit special.
Arthur has only been stopped once, by Manchester’s Michael Gomez in a huge upset in October 2003, but he has won ten in a row since. It is unlikely Guzman, who has gone the distance in his last 7 fights, will add another stoppage loss to Arthur’s stats. Look instead, for Guzman to win a decision over 12 compelling rounds.