Title heartbreak for brave Arthur

Campaign Series: GREAT PERFORMANCE: Jamie Arthur GREAT PERFORMANCE: Jamie Arthur

JAMIE Arthur is hoping for a championship rematch after losing a gruelling 12-round unification battle with Jason Booth.

Arthur, the former Commonwealth Games medallist, was beaten via a split decision in Brentwood on Saturday, the judges scoring the contest 115-113 and ridiculously 117-12 in Booth’s favour, with Arthur ahead on the other card 115-114.

It means Booth, beaten last time out at world level against Steven Molitor, retains his British super-bantamweight title and also takes Arthur’s Commonwealth crown.

Arthur admitted the verdict was correct after a contest well received by the ringside audience.

“I think it was a fair result, but we both agreed it could’ve been a draw, we had three weeks’ notice and we put our hearts into it, but it was a really good battle,” Arthur said.

“At the end of the day, that’s why I am in boxing, I came back to fight the best fighters I could, I was the Commonwealth champion and I wanted to face Jason Booth, he’s a three-time British and Commonwealth champion, what more could I ask for than to face him for the British title?

“That was the toughest fight I’ve had, you don’t want to be in too many of them when you get hit round the head a lot... but Jason Booth is a true warrior and to fight people like him is what I came back for.”

Booth admitted Arthur’s quality had surprised him.

“He had a wicked plan to beat me, it was one of my toughest fights, I had to give it my all in there, we put on a good show,” he said.

“I was definitely losing the fight, not by much but I was getting outfoxed, he’s a very good fighter, you can tell he’s a Commonwealth champion and he’s going to come again, he’s in the form of his life and he’s going to get better.”

Promoter Frank Maloney confirmed that he’d like to see a rematch.

“Jason is fighting for a European title next, so the next time they fight there could be three titles on the line but I think Jamie deserves a rematch, there is no taking away from that, I am very proud to work with the pair of them.”

Cwmbran’s Arthur, in his second go-around as a professional, covets the British title and will feel vindicated in his decision to take this fight at three weeks’ notice after he put up a tremendous performance.

Arthur started in blistering fashion, the pre-fight build-up a prelude to the action in the ring, Arthur arriving at the Braintree venue at 6pm, Booth at 7.45pm after getting lost en route.

In the opening ten minutes of a charged contest Arthur looked to be hitting his stride, outworking and outmanoeuvring Booth, who appeared to have left his strategy somewhere on the M25.

Arthur’s gameplan clearly relied on his natural conditioning and fitness, the hope being that Booth, now 33 years old, wouldn’t be in the same physical shape after cutting short a holiday in Florida to take the fight.

However, Arthur, for all his tremendous conditioning, couldn’t surpass Booth for heart and desire, though the Cwmbran fighter is never found wanting in that department either.

It made for a contest that became more and more tight in the closing stages, both fighters edging ahead at different stages, Booth finally doing enough as he managed to land more shots than Arthur, utilising body shots thrown on the inside as both fighters rubbed and butted heads.

Both suffered cuts, thankfully not bad enough to seriously affect the contest, but Booth reaped his rewards for continuing to fight on the front foot, one eye-catching right hook wobbling Arthur.

For Arthur disappointment in defeat will turn to reflection on a fight in which although he lost his title he arguably helped his career, because there is little doubt he’s likely to be back in the British and Commonwealth title picture before the end of 2011.

And on three weeks’ notice, the television audience will most certainly have been impressed.

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