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Boxing Preview: Jason Booth vs. Matthew Marsh

Frank Maloney again puts on another good line up of fights after last week's corker between Ian Napa and Jamie McDonnell and Ashley Sexton against Usman Ahmed.

Tonight at Harvey Hadden Leisure Centre in Nottingham, England, Jason ‘2 Smooth’ Booth, 34-5 (14), takes on Matthew Marsh, 13-1 (1), for Booth's British super bantamweight title, the same belt that Marsh had held but was forced to vacate almost a year ago, due to not being able to make the weight limit.

This raises a few eyebrows, especially after a few months away from the sport, Marsh came back to fight Josh Wale for the vacant English super bantamweight title, wins over ten rounds but cannot claim the title as he weighed in six ounces over! It looks like he really struggles to get down to 122 lb.

Either wa,y the first time Marsh failed to get down to the weight, he had been scheduled to defend his belt against Mark Moran. The experienced and talented Jason Booth was there to pick up the pieces, adding the British belt to his own Commonwealth crown by defeating Moran.

Marsh is a good boxer, a former two-time ABA champion at flyweight and bantamweight, and thus well schooled. But has only fought 14 times as a professional and only been the distance twice.

The first time he was scheduled to go the distance, he was stopped by Derry Matthews for the WBU featherweight title, showing signs of fatigue in the later rounds forcing the ref to halt the action in the eleventh.

Perhaps an issue lies within the weight, even if it was at 126 lbs.

In addition, Matthews was a step up in class for Marsh. Matthews at the time he was undefeated in 18 fights, but after a few setbacks in his career, has subsequently retired.

Coming back from that defeat, Marsh stopped Ajibu Salum in the first round, and then took on, what seemed to be, another step up in class facing Esham Pickering, the former European Champion, for the British title.

It was to be one of Marsh’s most dominant displays yet, with him outworking Pickering and generally being busier throughout, winning over twelve. That was the last real test we have seen of Marsh.

He followed that win with another over twice the victim Rocky Dean, who was 14-9-2 going in, and earned himself the third victory over Dean. After that, we had the weight debacle against Wale.

Booth, as previously mentioned, can be a very classy operator, has a great deal of experience and although there is a little pop in his punch, it's his boxing ability that sets him apart.

Booth has generally excelled on a domestic level and only really slipped up on the European stage, having lost over twelve to David Guerault for the European Flyweight title in 1999 but he went in there at 14-0.

Booth defeated Ian Napa in 2000, for the Commonwealth Flyweight crown, beating him over twelve.

Booth lost again when going for the European Flyweight belt, by decision against Alexander Makhmutov in 2001. Moreover, when the European Flyweight title was vacant, almost a year on, he went for it again, against Mimoun Chent and lost due to cuts over the Frenchman's eyes, as Booth was down on points when it was stopped.

He did however go on to claim the IBO Super Flyweight title against Lunga Ntontela in 2003, being put down in the seventh, only to rally and take a split decision points win. He defended that title only once before losing it to Damaen Kelly in 2004.

Booth then took a short break from boxing, only to return two years later and fight Napa in a rematch, which he lost, but since then has had seven wins, with a stoppage of Mark Moran, who was undefeated at the time, outclassing Rocky Dean over twelve and retiring Michael Hunter at the end of the fifth.

Marsh will try to press the fight, using pressure being the naturally bigger man, but Booth is too technical and will catch Marsh coming inside all night long.

Should Marsh stick to his boxing, try and pick him off at range we will see Booth turn aggressor and smother him all the while picking him off the counter, also with Marsh’s tendency to tire as of late and Booth's title fight experience, we should see Booth stop him late on or Marsh might hold on to lose a points decision.

On the undercard is Carl Johanneson vs. Youssef Al Hamidi. Former British Super Feather champ Johanneson is 27-4 (19) and Al Hamidi is 6-23-2 (1). From their records, you can see who the clever money is on.

Johanneson last fought Commonwealth and British super featherweight champ Kevin Mitchell, and was halted in the ninth almost two years ago. Before that, he took on hardened veteran and gatekeeper Michael Gomez, stopping Gomez in the sixth.

Johanneson can fight and has a good heart when the going gets tough.

Al Hamidi has fought many good operators but has often fallen short, losing to some of the top prospects from super feather to light welterweight.

Many of Al Hamidi's losses have been by only a point or two and he has put a loss on the records of four previously unbeaten opponents while forcing a draw on two more.

Either way they have a good number of opponents between them, and both should come to fight, expect Johanneson to want to get his name right back in the mix of things and so will start fast and should end favourably for Johanneson, although Hamidi could cause problems.

We also have ex-English Light Welter titlist Scott Haywood, 19-5 (4), taking on former English lightweight title challenger John Fewkes, 18-1 (2), at welterweight.

Haywood has lost his last three, albeit one of those losses was to the talented Commonwealth Light Welter Champion Ajose Olusegan, this is being seen as a last chance saloon fight for Haywood.

Expect this to go the distance, as neither are big punchers but both have good records and will both will be digging in hard.

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