Boxing: Takaloo expects to overpower Gomez

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The Independent Online

Takaloo was born in Iran, raised in Margate and is still waiting for his British passport. Tonight he defends his World Boxing Union light-middleweight title at York Hall in London against Jose Rosa Gomez, who is from the Dominican Republic but is based in Argentina.

The nine fights on the Bethnal Green card feature boxers from 10 different countries. There is only one London-based British boxer in the line-up of 18 fighters, which even for the cosmopolitan sport of boxing appears excessive.

Takaloo has in the past proved both his ability and his heart in fights that have seen him start as an underdog, but that is clearly not the case tonight. Gomez is a rugged and durable opponent whose best win in 64 fights was against a lightweight, some 18lb below the light-middleweight limit.

Still, Takaloo never fails to give value for money, even when he is benefiting from what looks like a mismatch. The 27-year-old has watched in frustration during the last two years as several potentially lucrative domestic fights have effectively drifted away, leaving the British light-middleweight division in crisis.

"It has been frustrating because so many potentially brilliant fights have fallen through and I believe that that is a great pity,'' claimed Takaloo, who first won the title against tremendous odds when he knocked out Anthony Farnell in front of 5,000 of his fans in Manchester two years ago.

Tonight Takaloo will be far too strong for the clever Gomez but a stoppage would still look impressive on his record. After that it is surely time that he gets the chance to finally prove that he is the best light-middleweight in Britain. That can only be achieved if a fight can be arranged with Stockwell's Richard Williams, who holds the equally curious International Boxing Organisation version of the title.

The former light-welterweight world champion Vince Phillips could be suspended after testing positive for a banned substance. The British Boxing Board of Control yesterday confirmed that a sample taken from the American fighter on the day of his World Boxing Union title fight against Ricky Hatton in Manchester on 5 April contained the stimulant ephedrine. "The first of two samples tested positive," said the board's general secretary, Simon Block. Phillips has the right to attend a board hearing on June 11 and can ask for his second sample to be tested.

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