In the company of ‘The Quiet Man’ we revisited his celebrated boxing career.
Looking back at the Gethin vs Hibbert title fight that took place in November 2016, you can’t help but notice how incredibly relaxed Martin Gethin appears to be throughout the entire bout.
His movement is calculated and fluid, and despite being the smaller man and having to soak up a good measure of his opponent’s weighty punches, he never slips into any type of panic mode and wastes very little energy on his way to finishing the fight in the 4th round with a devastating four punch combination.
From the off, it’s as if he knows deep down that he’ll be leaving Wembley Arena later that evening as the new IBF International Super Lightweight Champion – no matter what.
Just months before the fight Gethin had admitted that he was considering retirement and had he done so, especially following the disappointing defeat against Adam Little in the September of the same year, there would have been no complaint from his many fans.
‘The Quiet Man’ had already, courtesy of a glittering 35 fight pro career that began in 2004 and that had seen him win seven titles, written his name into Walsall boxing’s Hall of Fame.
Instead Gethin fought three more times upsetting the odds to capture the IBF Title in the second of his ‘comeback’ fights.
In doing so he’d managed to put the seal on a remarkable boxing legacy.
Gethin officially announced his retirement in April 2017 prompting one fan to write that the popular Walsall born fighter was a ‘Great servant to Midlands boxing.’ and adding ‘The night he won the British at Walsall Town Hall is still up there as one of my favourite nights at boxing.’
Now a Trainer at the Wild Star Boxing Gym in Aldridge, ‘The Quiet Man’ has turned his attention towards developing new boxers and growing his boxing equipment and clothing brand ‘MG1983.’
He took a time out from his schedule to answer a few Qs for me.
So how’s it going at Wild Star Boxing Gym?
It’s going really good thank you. The amateurs are improving with each training session and with each fight.
You’re working with a lot of good young boxers. Any prospects we should keep an eye out for?
From my gym at the moment I’d say Kane Woods, William Adams and Harvey Hawkins but I have a few more good amateurs coming through too.
What would you say are the biggest challenges young boxers face?
Social media as I think it’s too much exposure for them at a young age. It’s scary enough getting in the ring never mind with the whole of the media knowing too.
The first time that you fought at Walsall Town Hall was 2005 when you beat Michael Medor on points. What was that like?
It was great to box in Walsall in front of my home crowd.
I think I took the fight lightly as it turned out to be a really tough fight – which I was very glad I won in front of my fans.
Coming into the fight I was 4-0 and he was 2-0.
Also I was told he had been in the Olympics so I was even more nervous.
What was the highlight of your career?
I have two main highlights of my career.
One – Boxing in Las Vegas which I won by KO.
Two – Winning the British title by KO at Walsall Town Hall in front of my home crowd.
You’ve probably been asked this a thousand times, but what was it like fighting in Vegas?
It was like a dream being told I’d be boxing in Las Vegas. It’s a place every Boxer wants to box at. It’s where all the World Champions box and I was able to box there.
It was amazing being able to meet a lot of my boxing heroes like Ricky Hatton, Oscar De La Hoya, Shane Mosley.
Even more spectacular was that I won by KO against a tough Mexican.
Unbeaten for your first 16 pro fights. That’s some record. What were the secrets of your success during that period?
The secret of that was the main word that is in Boxing and that is staying disciplined.
Staying in the gym and working and working on things I keep doing wrong and keeping fit.
And having a good wife that sticks by me when times get hard.
She sticks with me through my moans and groans and cooks me food to keep me in shape.
Winning the IBF International Super Lightweight Title must have felt awesome. How did you celebrate the win?
It was a great feeling winning the IBF for a second time at a second weight. Only this was even more special because I had a fight four days before in Walsall winning on points.
Then on the Monday I had a call to box in Wembley the following Saturday, bear in mind I hadn’t done a ten round fight for while – so I said yes, I’ll go for it.
Went home, checked my weight – I had 11 pounds to lose.
So, to the day – I lost 13 pounds and made the weight.
Day of the fight my kids send me a good luck message by video and then there was no way I’m going home without that belt.
Won by ko and celebrated big. I can’t remember it was that good. (laughs)
What would you recommend for a training camp diet?
Got to be fresh fish, veg, chicken, brown rice, fruit, salad, eggs, porridge, little and often. Plenty of water.
Name your 3 favourite boxers.
Roy Jones Jr. Ricky Hatton. Mike Tyson.
What’s your favourite boxing movie?
The one that gets every kid on their feet and wanting to be a boxer. Has to be Rocky 4 – quality film.
Do you have a favourite saying, quote or mantra?
Never give up on your dreams. If you want it so much you can achieve anything.
And finally, what are your aims for 2018
To get my amateur license and hopefully get to professional coach as well and get some champions coming through. And also build my clothing brand MG1983.
Originally published for Midlands Boxing Culture in 2018
Photographs courtesy of Martin Gethin