Boxing: Gomez moves quickly to end Arthur's reign

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The Independent Online

Michael Gomez had announced he would retire if he lost against Alex Arthur in Saturday's British super-featherweight fight. But by the time he had triumphantly thrust the belt skyward at end of the contest, that threat seemed as out of place as Arthur's claim to the title.

Gomez travelled to Edinburgh and ruthlessly regained the belt with a fifth-round stoppage of Arthur that was simply astonishing.

Arthur, at 25, is just a year younger than Gomez and was defending in his home town for the first time. Starting as favourite to retain his title and improve his record to 17 straight wins, it quickly became clear he had miscalculated the ferocity of Gomez's conviction.

It was never pleasant to watch but it was always exciting. Gomez has been through several trainers and several dark patches in an often mystifying career, and earlier this year Arthur left his long-term trainer and switched to California's Freddie Roach. However, Roach failed to show up and his absence had a clear effect on Arthur.

The third round will enter boxing folklore as one of the best ever seen in a British ring and it was the same in round five, when it finally looked like Arthur would mount a challenge to Gomez.

At one point Arthur finally connected with a body shot and it slowed Gomez down. But Arthur allowed his confidence to get the best of him and he was soon dropped by a left hook. When Arthur regained his feet, he was cut above the right eye and his face was swollen and bruised, and soon Gomez had dropped him again after a combination of punches connected.

Once again Arthur beat the count but he was on the ropes when the referee stopped the fight after 2:58 of round five, ending Arthur's short tenure as champion.