Booth Believes Arthur Will Become Champion Again
Jason Booth retained his British super-bantamweight title, adding the commonwealth belt to boot, with a split-decision win over Jamie Arthur.
The two fighters served up an absorbing 12-round contest on short notice in Brentwood, with the scorecards being required to decide the outcome.
Although Arthur got the nod 115-114 from one judge, the other two gave it to Booth by margins of 115-113 and, perhaps a little surprisingly, 117-112.
A rematch is not out of the question in the near future although Booth, who failed in his bid to become a world champion last time out when he was beaten by Steve Molitor on points, may now target European glory.
The experienced boxer from Nottingham was forced to overcome a sluggish start to triumph in a unification fight that was confirmed just three weeks ago.
His cause was not helped by his late arrival at the venue; a wrong exit off the M25 meaning he turned up only around an hour before the first bell sounded.
The lack of preparation time seemed to be a problem as Arthur, a former challenger for the British featherweight strap, dominated the first two rounds thanks to a high tempo and unrelenting work-rate.
Known for his slick boxing skills, Booth instead opted to go to war. His tactics paid off as his determination to plough forward slowly reaped its rewards.
Arthur's early lead slipped away round-by-round, his cause not being helped by cuts around both left and right eyes that were deemed to have come about from accidental clashes of heads.
A right hand from Booth rocked his rival to the bottom of his boots in the closing rounds, helping him get the nod from the judges.
"That was one of the hardest fights I've had up to date," the 33-year-old told Sky Sports afterwards. "I had to show heart tonight.
"I had three weeks notice, so did he, but we put on a good show, didn't we?
"He (Arthur) is a very clever boxer. You can tell he's Commonwealth champion. He will come again. I know he will, because he's in the form of his life. He's going to get better."
Arthur - left badly marked up around his left eye in particular - felt it could have gone either way in the end.
"We both agreed it could have been a draw at the end of the day. It was that close," he said. "We had a good battle. At the end of the day, we've put our heart on the lines. This is why we're in boxing. That is why I came back."
Meanwhile, on the undercard, David Price moved to 9-0 as a pro with a stoppage success over an out-of-shape Osborne Machimana.
The Liverpool heavyweight had his opponent down in the first round but had to wait until the third to force an early finish, the South African seemingly happy enough to be spared any further punishment.