By Wayne Bartlett: All things considered, Michael Gomez put forth a tremendous battle in his efforts to claim hold of a third British super-featherweight title in his 12 year career, but it was the fresher champion Carl Johanneson that retained his belt after six brutal and bloody rounds this Friday night at the Doncaster Dome.
On the comeback trail with two quick wins in May and June of this year after suffering two consecutive stoppage losses in 2006, Michael Gomez whipped up a storm ahead of tonight’s showdown.
Not shy of a tear up himself, the tough champion Johanneson had obliged in the usual pre fight threats and aggressive antics of Gomez in the build up to this fight, and again once the two were face to face in the ring centre.
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Convincing many of his ability to resurrect the demonic performances inside of a ring he once produced, Gomez seemed hell-bent on regaining the British title he never lost in the ring, as he laid into the champion from the opening bell.
Toe to toe and slamming away at each other in a frenetic first round, it was Gomez’ uppercuts that appeared to be doing the damage early on, the busy Mancunian also successful in drawing first blood as Johanneson’s nose poured on returning to his stool after the opener .
Round two continued in the same vein as the first with Gomez eagerly out of his corner to continue his good work. Both men again clashing in the ring centre, the challenger’s intense work soon forced his man back to the ropes, his uppercuts still doing the damage.
Not to be completely outdone though, the champion opened up with his own arsenal late in the round and landed a beauty of a right cross to the face of his relentless adversary, Gomez however seeming to absorb the shots well.
Under instructions from his corner, the beginning of round 3 saw Johanneson utilise a bit of new found distance to force out his powerful jab. Followed by damaging hooks that appeared to be affecting the challenger, Johanneson now gained a foothold in the tear up as the pair still banged away at each other throughout the round.
Noticeably though it is now Johanneson that moves into the ascendancy with his fresher looking work rate over the vain efforts of a more fatigued looking Gomez.
A fantastic tussle occurred in round 4 as Johanneson established superiority in all but the last 30 seconds of the round.
Landing direct shots to the head of Gomez, it looked to be curtains for the now badly bloodied Mancunian until somehow he managed to fire himself back into contention with a peach of a left hook and follow up flurry of punches until the rounds end.
Another good start to a round for the challenger as he looked to capitalise on the end of round 4, the brief turnaround was soon dispelled with the progression of round 5 with the champion clearly looking the far fresher.
Delivering punches in bunches to the bobbing and weaving but now fatigued target of Michael Gomez, it was looking only a matter of time before one of the many heavy right crosses hitting the challenger bang on the chin ended matters, despite the outstanding bravery of Michael Gomez.
Failing to see the distance in a fight since the year 2000 whether winning or losing, tonight again saw no chance of that trend being bucked from Gomez. Again the Irish born warrior bullying forwards at the start of the round as he fires to the body of the champion, midway through the sixth round it’s the champion that manages to manoeuvre himself to arms length and that’s where he continues to level his man with those punishing 1-2 combinations.
Continuing to catch his rugged adversary with the classic left jab -right cross, a series of the shots finally cracked the tough nut of Gomez, as he was sent crashing to the canvas with 34 seconds left in the round.
Rising to his feet instantly, the referee asked the former champion his name before he would wave on the action. “Michael Gomez” stated clearly by the challenger saw the action ensue but it proved to be a false dawn as only seconds later referee Mickey Vann was waving the fight over after another crunching right cross to the head sent the 30-year-old Gomez back on his heels. The fight ending just 10 seconds before the end of round 6 amidst the protests from the challenger.
This battle of attrition saw Carl Johanneson claim the prestigious Lonsdale belt outright after this the third defence of his British super-featherweight title, and in style did the Leeds fighter do it.
The talented champ learnt his trade over in the tough US gyms of Philadelphia and has used that experience to grind out a solid style on his way to the top of Britain’s super featherweight rankings.
Tonight becoming a coin flip of a fight considering past glory’s of the Mancunian with the Mexican name, mixed with the domestic prowess of the champion - with still a questionable chin under fire from a big hitter - saw this cracker of a fight deliver on it’s pre fight promise of fireworks.
For the 29-year-old champion, now 27-3(19), this win sets him back on the winning trail after a second career KO loss to European champ and bogeyman Leva Kirokosyan last time out, and sets him up nicely for his planned duel with undefeated Essex prodigy, Kevin Mitchell.
Tonight for the defeated challenger however was always a question of what he would have left in the locker after a 34-8(24) career littered with wars.
The defeated Gomez (whose 5 round crushing of Alex Arthur in 2003 still the best domestic fight I’ve ever witnessed) now finds himself stranded after this loss. Desperately unhappy with the stoppage despite taking heavy punishment at the time of the interval, the 30-year-old surely now can only reignite a domestic comeback via a rematch with his latest conqueror.
The champions fascinating clash with Mitchell now on the horizon though, sees Johanneson - temporarily at least - with bigger fish to fry.
Other results from Doncaster
super middleweight Lee Nicholson w pts 4 Ryan Rowlinson
welterweight John Fewkes w pts 8 Gary Reid
bantamweight Ross Burkinshaw drew 6 Shaun Docherty
junior middleweight Danny Reynolds w pts 6 Gatis Skuja
Bivol shakes up boxing with shock win over Canelo
Davison headlines six-strong GB Boxing team bidding for world glory
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