“Someone’s gonna get hurt, and it aint gonna be me” – Michael Gomez
Taken from VIPBoxing.com
The latest comeback of Michael Gomez has spanned a mere six rounds over two fights. Now, the original sombrero wielding Mancunian Mexican, faces Carl "Ingemar" Johanneson on October 19th. The fight, at Doncaster dome, will be contested over twelve rounds for the British title. A title Gomez claims is his property.
I caught up with Gomez at the Robin Park arena, Wigan, last Saturday (September 22nd) . A show Gomez was due to headline alongside VIP promotions stable mate Alex Matvienko. Gomez had understandably dropped out of his fight due to the opportunity of contesting the British title. In his previous fight Mike had been cut above both eyes in the first round by the inexperienced Youssef Al Hamidi. It was decided the chance couldn’t be taken for this to happen again, and so Gomez would stay out of the ring until the end of October.
I’d sat with Mike during Brian Rose’s contest with Lee Noble. The energy and passion Gomez displayed whilst willing his training partner (Rose) through the fight was reminiscent of his past fights. In between his frantic coaching Mike would sit down and suddenly appear calm and composed, until the next exchange, during which he’d be out of his seat willing his compatriot to sink hooks to the body, or to use head movement. My interview with Mike would have to wait until the end of the evening.
Mike returned to ringside for the interview during a break in the evenings action. Alex Matvienko had just emerged from the ring victorious following his hard fought points win over Martin Marshall – a Michael Gomez type affair if ever there was one. I knew Mike would be fired up. As he took his seat he turned to me and grinned, before exclaiming “Someone’s gonna get hurt, and it aint gonna be me”. This was typical Gomez, upfront, confident and straight to the point.
Since joining Bobby Rimmer Gomez has been more of an elder statesman of the gym, passing on advice to his stablemates, and helping them during technical sparring sessions. I enquired how his training had been going.
“Training is going really well. I was supposed to be fighting tonight, so the weight is virtually bang on a full 6 weeks from fight night. The diet’s keeping the weight off, and still giving me all the energy I need to train. I’ve had a couple of nights off the running this week to make sure I don’t burn out. I know a lot of fighters say this, but I truly am going to be in one of the best shapes of my life. I’m ready to go tonight, never mind in 6 weeks. Bobby has been working on getting the head movement back, working on my feints and getting the jab working. We’ve worked on it all and it’s come together. My left jab will be a massive weapon come fight night.”
I’d been informed Mike had sparred Johanneson before. An obvious yardstick on how their October fight could pan out would be how the two fared during these sessions. Mike expressed his confidence and enthusiasm as he moved from discussing sparring, to cleanly stacking the odds in his own corner.
“We’ve sparred three or four times before. To be fair he’s a strong kid, he can whack a bit. But then hey, so can I. I was a little bit stronger than him, and I know that I hit a little bit harder, and I take a better shot. Don’t forget I’ve been in wars before, massive wars, and I’ve come out victorious. The pressure is on him, I’ve been on the comeback trail before, he hasn’t. He has everything to lose, I’ve got nothing to lose. I remember after one spar Carl saying to me that I made everything a war. Well that’s what I do, WARS!! He’s going to find out they were only pretend wars, this will be a real one, and I don’t think he will want to be in it for too long”
A common opponent for the two is dangerous Russian Leva Kirakosyan. Gomez defeated the Russian in October of 2004, whilst Johanneson has been defeated by the heavy handed Kirakosvan on two separate occasions, the last following four brutal rounds in Barnsley, back in July.
“You cant take too much away form Carl for losing there. Kirakosvan is a huge puncher. When I fought him I could feel his power. If he hit Morrales clean, or Barrera clean, he’d have them in trouble. He had me going in the fifth but I showed my warrior mentality and I finished him in the next round” said Gomez.
The next question I had for Mike was clearly a loaded one, and he knew it too. It was in relation to losing home advantage for the fight, did I think he cared, no chance. Did he think I thought he cared, absolutely no chance. Gomez had travelled to Edinburgh and beat Alex Arthur in the Scotsman’s den, the partisan crowd were ferocious in their support of Arthur, yet Gomez thrived from the atmosphere. It’d take some crowd to intimidate Gomez following his experiences in Edinburgh that night.
“What does home advantage mean? For starters I sell more tickets than him, I’ve sold 250 myself already. It may be nearer his home town but believe you me it’ll be a Michael Gomez crowd in there. Regardless, when that first bell goes Carl Johanneson will realise what Alex Arthur realised. The crowd go back, and we step forwards. He’s got my title. I never lost it. I vacated it. Now I’m coming to take it back and regain my spot as number one Super Featherweight.”
The enthusiasm for this next title challenge was evident in Mike’s body language. Mike has a new bounce in his step, and speaks with renewed belief for the sport. Carl Johanneson may start slight favourite with the bookies, and Gomez knows he is in for a tough nights work, but Mike’s prediction was an unsurprisingly confident one…
“Gomez wins. I’m not going to sit here and make wild round choices, but I will beat him and regain my title. Carl’s a good fighter, but he’s nowhere near my level. I know it, you know it and after the fight he’ll know it too”.
By Sam Doleman.
Nice one Sam......