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2 Smooth' talks to Craig Birch


JASON BOOTH insists it’s competition – and not money – that will entice him back into the British title race on Saturday night.


Booth returns to the ring five months after a losing effort at becoming a bonafide world champion, by defending his British crown against Commonwealth title-holder Jamie Arthur.


It’s difficult to see what the 33-year-old stands to gain from the fight – he has already won a Lonsdale Belt outright and is not overly interested in adding the Commonwealth title to his stash either. It must be a come-down from dreams of dethroning Steve Molitor for the IBF world crown, albeit with a high European ranking to fall back on if another world champion never steps up to the plate.


Booth’s experience of the 12-rounder is undoubted – it will be his 20th title fight when Arthur stands across the ring in Brentwood on Saturday. At four weights, he has been a champion.


Critics who believe the time is right for Booth to call it a day reckon he is only doing it for the payday, but “2 Smooth” is adamant the desire to prove he still has what it takes is motivation enough.


He said: “I love the competition, I don’t need motivating because boxing is a way of life for me. I still feel young and I am still a force to be reckoned with.


“I am happy with the level I am at, it’s a very good level and I want to defend my title, it’s not just about the money.


“Hopefully Arthur will give me a good six rounds because I don’t want to mess about going the distance, I am looking to go all-out. I can the dream about the win but I have got to earn it, so I am going to wait for the night and then sort him out. I am too old to be worrying about the other fighter, I am just going to do my job and I will be ready on the night.


“I know more than enough about him, he’s a good worker who comes to fight, he won’t come to lie down and he will have a go – just what I expect from anybody fighting for a British title. But he’s a stand-still boxer whereas I am versatile, I can change styles while I am thinking.”


Whatever explanation is offered, the reality is that the British champion has put himself up there to be shot at, against a fighter who would love to be the man that retired Jason Booth.


Booth knows it and has been there himself – back in the day he was the one doing the retiring.


He said: “If it did happen, I would just congratulate him and wish him well in his career like people did to me when I was coming through.


“I remember after I fought Keith Knox, he said to me, ‘Look, you are a brilliant talent, good luck in your career, I am finished!’


“Rocky Dean, Michael Hunter, I have retired a few boxers! I wouldn’t go out like that, but you know when you have had enough.”


It will be exactly a year since Booth last defended the British super bantamweight title against Matthew Marsh when the belt goes up for grabs on Saturday night. The British Boxing Board of Control originally ordered the champion to defend against Rendall Munroe, who himself suffered world title heartbreak in a shot at the WBC title last year.


A final eliminator would have decided who would meet the winner, with Arthur defending the Commonwealth title against Scott Quigg – another bright prospect and at 22 the youngest of the lot.


Munroe put paid to the whole plan by telling the Board straight he wasn’t interested and Booth has lifted the lid on why.


He said: “Munroe didn’t want to know for his own reasons, I was willing to take the fight but I wasn’t happy with the purse. Put it this way, you wouldn’t have done it yourself for that, it was poor.


“You have got two world title challengers, Munroe was the undefeated European champion and I am the British champion – and it was Midlands Area title money.”



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