KIERAN GETHING has had a turbulent career, in and outside the ring, from losing his father to suicide, to losing his professional debut, to losing his first title tilt against Tony Dixon in October. Now, the Welshman feels ready to overcome that difficult past and lay claim to a title.
Gething 6-2-1 (2) will box Henry Janes for the Welsh super-lightweight title on Saturday, at The Neon in Newport. The card, entitled ‘Second Chances’ carries the slightly foreboding strapline ‘Two fighters… One more shot at the title’. The pressure, it seems, is on.
“It’s very much make or break,” Kieran Gething told Boxing News. “I perform well under pressure but I can’t be putting so much pressure on myself that I think this is either do or die, but it could well be that way to be honest with you.
“How many options are there left for me after that? It would be a rebuilding job, I’d have to get two or three wins again, I’ve got to sell all the tickets again, it’s hard to start again when you’ve already accrued that interest and then lost it.”
His opponent, the 35-year-old Janes 12-23-3 (1) previously plied his trade as a journeyman. Now, after a six year lay-off that took place between 2010 and 2016, he’s approaching things differently and has lost less than half of his 14 fights since 2016.
Notably, Janes has won two of his last four bouts, also claiming a draw from the away corner up in Scotland against unbeaten prospect, Craig MacIntyre.
“For a long time I’ve sung his praises,” Gething said of Janes. “I’ve always kept up with his career and encouraged him because he’s a real trier. Ever since his comeback he’s done fantastic, he’s only lost to British title challengers and Gavin Gwynne who’s just won a British title eliminator. What does that tell you? He’s fighting at a high standard. He had a draw for the Celtic title up in Scotland too. He’s in the top 20, ranked on Boxrec, so he’s no dummy to be dropped.”
Despite his losing record then, Janes will be no push-over. Gething says he is well equipped to deal with the task though. He excelled as an amateur, though it’s worth mentioning that he also has to deal with a physical disadvantage in Talipes, also known as club foot.
“You’ve got to look back sometimes before you push forward. Just yesterday I had a look at all my Welsh amateur vests, I’ve got about 14 of them including championship and CYP vests so looking at things like that, my medals and my trophies, it fills me full of confidence knowing that I’ve already been this level and further. I’ve fought a couple of top world operators so I’m not too stressed,” he said
Dropping from welterweight, where Gething lost narrowly to Tony Dixon over 10 rounds in a fight that won the BBBofC Welsh Area Fight of the Year 2018, to super-lightweight has been easy, Gething told Boxing News. He credits his new vegan diet.
“I thought I looked pretty big. Not a massive welterweight but an average welterweight, but I can’t believe how well the weight has come off with the vegan diet” he says. “I do feel amazing. Usually a week before a fight you’re feeling a bit lethargic what with all your training, but I feel amazing. I’m not just saying that.”
“I’m quite conscious of the environment with it,” says Gething, admitting that making weight isn’t his only motivation. “I think everyone should do a bit more for the environment you know. If it’s true about the amount of pollution it cuts out by cutting down on meat, you know? It’s not our planet. It’s our kids.”
The 10 round Welsh title loss to Dixon hasn’t taken any of the fight out of the Abergavenny man. Gething said: “When I immediately came out of the ring after the Dixon fight I was really disappointed obviously, as I’m going to be, but in an hour or two I gained a bit of perspective from what the crowd was saying to me. It didn’t do anything to damage my profile and the fact that the board see fit to sanction me for another title straight of that title loss, I think it just goes to show that everyone still holds me in high regard.”
In-between the loss and this new title tilt, Gething has been sparring the biggest name in Welsh boxing: Lee Selby. When it comes to preparation “you don’t get better than that” says the 24-year-old, “It’s an honour.”
Gething believes that sharing the ring with Selby, twinned with his amateur pedigree and new diet, could be a cocktail that sets him up for success in 2019.
“I’m a bit of a dreamer,” he says. “I look forward when I shouldn’t look forward really but where I’d like it to take me is, I have another one scheduled on March 1 … I’d like that to be for a Celtic super lightweight title. Maybe an international title of some sort.”
Directly in the Welshman’s sights are the likes of Phil Bowes, who is fighting on the same night for the Commonwealth title, and Craig MacIntyre, the unbeaten prospect who previously drew with Janes. That’s not the limit of the young fighter’s ambitions either.
“There’s routes there, you know? Matchroom have got a couple of top operators in Robbie Davis and Joe Hughes who are fighting for the European and British titles now. But this year I’d like this to lead straight into a Celtic title fight. There’s a couple of guys from Ireland who might be up for it provided we can get something sorted on four weeks’ notice. Though I can’t look past getting a cut or something against Henry Janes at the minute.”