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Page last updated at 06:39 GMT, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 07:39 UK

Arthur admits Commonwealth burden

By Peter Shuttleworth

Jamie Arthur
Arthur has won all six of his bouts since his 2008 comeback

Jamie Arthur says his Commonwealth gold medal proved to be a "millstone around his neck" when he first turned professional six years ago.

The returning Welsh featherweight, 2002 Commonwealth Games champion, is now next in line for a British title shot against champion Martin Lindsay.

Arthur is unbeaten since his comeback in 2008 and beat highly-rated Akaash Bhatia in the British title eliminator.

"When I retired, I knew I hadn't reached my potential," said Arthur.

He was the first Welshman since Howard Winstone in 1958 to win a Commonwealth boxing crown when he won the lightweight division in Manchester in 2002.

The golden boy turned professional a year later in a blaze of publicity, fighting on many high-profile bills of then stable-mate Joe Calzaghe's undercards and won his first nine professional fights.

But Arthur struggled to adapt to the professional game and retired in the wake of back-to-back knockouts in 2005 by Haider Ali and Harry Ramogoadi.

The Cwmbran fighter returned to the ring three years later to beat Ayittey Mettle in April 2008.

"When I turned pro, my Commonwealth gold medal was like a millstone around my neck," Arthur told BBC Sport Wales.

Jamie Arthur enjoys his Commonwealth win
"When I won the Commonwealth gold I was 22 and still a kid. I was immature and I wasn't taking the game as seriously as I am now

Welsh boxer Jamie Arthur

"I was chucked straight into the limelight with a big promoter and being on television, I had a lot of pressure and that expectation weighed me down - it was hard to carry.

"I had the pressure of people patting me on the back and saying how good I was going to be.

"There was a pressure to knock opponents out and really shine. There was also the pressure of people criticising my every move. But I don't have that burden this time."

The 29-year-old added: "On my comeback I have fought in small hall shows and have learned my trade properly. Also I prefer to be the underdog, people now want to write me off and that suits me fine.

"The pressure will return if I fight for a British title but I'm 29-years-old now and I'm more mature both as a boxer and as a person. I can handle things better.

"When I won the Commonwealth gold I was 22 and still a kid. While I had a great time first time around, I was immature and I wasn't taking the game as seriously as I am now.

"Now I want to I want to see how good I can be. don't want to be another journeyman, I now want to win titles. I'm not interested in fighting six-rounders as there is not a great deal of money in boxing.

606: DEBATE

"Coming back was a huge gamble and financially it is a struggle for me and my family.

"But when I'm old and grey I don't want to think I had 20 years of being punched in the head but won nothing. I don't want to have any 'what ifs?'

"I'm already riding out my second chance and if I lose my next fight it could be my boxing career over."

Arthur, now trained by former Commonwealth and British light-heavyweight champion Eddie Avoth, has quit his refrigeration and personal training businesses to concentrate on boxing full-time.

He has won five of his six fights on points, including the British title eliminator against the much-fancied and previously unbeaten Bhatia.

Now Arthur hopes to secure a domestic title shot against unbeaten 27-year-old Ulsterman Lindsay.

"I'm only number five in the British rankings, though, so hopefully he might see me as an easy option," stated Arthur.



see also
Arthur to fight for British crown
30 Jun 09 |  Boxing
Hard-up Arthur bows out of boxing
09 Sep 05 |  Boxing
Disappointed Arthur vows revenge
27 Jul 05 |  Boxing
Arthur crashes to second defeat
24 Jul 05 |  Boxing
Revived Arthur turns to Calzaghe
13 Jun 05 |  Boxing
Arthur vows to beat cut problems
25 Jan 05 |  Boxing
Arthur makes promising start
23 Mar 03 |  Boxing
Arthur joins Calzaghe stable
04 Dec 02 |  Boxing
Jamie Arthur
31 Dec 02 |  Wales
Arthur wins Welsh gold
03 Aug 02 |  Boxing
Wales' boxing world champions
25 Mar 08 |  Boxing
Wales' pugilist princes
15 May 09 |  Boxing
Wales' boxing history in photos
24 May 09 |  Boxing
BBC Sport Wales coverage
03 Oct 11 |  Wales


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