BBC Sport boxing

Related BBC sites

Page last updated at 07:01 GMT, Wednesday, 18 June 2008 08:01 UK

Gomez ready for Khan battle

AMIR KHAN v MICHAEL GOMEZ (Commonwealth lightweight title)
Venue: National Indoor Arena Date: Saturday, 21 June Starts: 2215 BST
Coverage: Live on ITV 1 and BBC Radio 5 Live; report on BBC Sport website



Michael Gomez
Michael Gomez (right) hits Alex Arthur on the way to a famous victory in 2003. He faces Amir Khan on Saturday in what promises to be an entertaining affair

By Nabil Hassan

Being an underdog against Amir Khan on Saturday will not faze Michael Gomez, who has been fighting against the odds all his life.

So extraordinary is his story, it is currently being made into a film.

"I've been on a murder charge, I've been stabbed and, without boxing, I don't know where I'd be, probably in a lot of trouble," says the Irishman.

"It's kept my feet on the ground and before I leave the sport I'm going to make sure everyone knows my name."

Born in a ditch following a car crash, Gomez was one of 10 children by the time his father died of an eye disease, a tragedy closely followed by the death of younger sister Louise.

MICHAEL GOMEZ FACTFILE
Michael Gomez
Born: June 21, 1977 in County Longford, Republic of Ireland
Based: Manchester
Weight: Super-featherweight/lightweight
Stance: Orthodox
Fights: 43
Wins: 35
Wins by KO: 24
Losses: 8

His mother soon left and Gomez spent much of a troubled childhood in and out of children's homes, often playing truant from school and carrying out petty thefts before boxing offered him a better life.

But his in-ring career almost came to a premature end when, in 1996, he was charged with murder after the death of Sam Powell following a street fight.

Gomez, then aged 21, was eventually acquitted of a reduced manslaughter charge after it was ruled that he had acted in self-defence, but he continued to be dogged by trouble outside the ring.

During another street fight he was stabbed and was declared clinically dead on the operating table, before his heart re-started 48 seconds later.

He bounced back from that brush with death and in 2003 won a potentially career-defining fight, knocking out rising star Alex Arthur. However, he didn't push on and two years ago courted controversy by walking out of the ring during a fight with Peter McDonagh, later saying he had retired from boxing.

But just 18 months later he returned to boxing and on Saturday has the chance to write the latest chapter in an epic story when he faces Khan.

606: DEBATE
luckyRobbo

"People have been saying I've been finished for 10 years," said Gomez.

"But listen, this is the last chance saloon and this is the last chance for me to set my family up for life and to be known by every household in Britain."

Gomez is a fighter that thrives on the big occasion and on Saturday in front of 10,000 spectators at Birmingham's National Indoor Arena he will take to the ring against Khan, the bright hope of British boxing.

The opportunity to secure his family's future is the real reason the Irish-born fighter, who celebrates his 31st birthday on Saturday, craves victory.

He said: "I've got a chance to make the big dough and become world class and I don't need any more motivation than that.

"Look at Michael Gomez's record and it will show that if you put me in with someone that scares me then I perform and I perform big time.

"Fear drives me on and the possibility to set my kids up for life gives me all the drive and determination I need."

Gomez is not daunted by the prospect of facing Khan, in fact he is looking forward to what he promises will be an old-fashioned 'tear-up'.

"Amir's coming to fight, I'm coming to fight, it's gonna be a cracker. Amir is a world-class operator, but he's in for a shock on Saturday," he said.

"People forget that I've been in long drawn-out wars and I'm capable of going 12 rounds.

He's a warrior and I'm a veteran warrior so it's going be a cracker

Michael Gomez

"I wasn't the most educated kid at school but I'm a very clever fighter and I'm going to go in there and do a job on him."

The film of his life - simply called Gomez - is due out in November. By then, if he beats Khan, his name will already be box office.



see also
Khan appoints temporary trainer
01 May 08 |  Boxing
Khan stops Kristjansen in seven
05 Apr 08 |  Boxing
Gomez stuns Arthur
25 Oct 03 |  Boxing


related internet links:
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.