Marsh walks away from biggest fight of his career

British super-bantamweight champion Matthew Marsh has shocked his coach after quitting boxing just days before he was due to defend his title

East London trainer Johnny Eames has expressed his shock after British super-bantamweight champion Matthew Marsh quit boxing just days before he was due to defend his crown and earn the biggest purse of his career.

Marsh, who trained at Canning Town's TKO gymnasium, was scheduled to face Liverpool southpaw Mark Moran in Leigh, Greater Manchester on Friday night.

But the British champion announced his sudden retirement last week, much to the surprise of gym boss Eames.

Marsh had been having problems to make the 8st 10lb weight limit and relinquished his British title before informing Eames of his decision.

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"I knew Matthew was finding it hard to get the weight off, but I was shocked when he told me it was over and he was quitting boxing," said TKO Gym chief Eames.

"Frank Maloney even offered to delay the fight until May, to give him more time to make the weight, but Matthew insisted he would not go through with the bout and did not want to box."

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Former West Ham amateur star Marsh had suffered just a single defeat in his 12 pro fights, suffering his lone setback when he moved up to featherweight and lost against WBU champion Derry Matthews at York Hall in 2007.

He had since bounced back with three good wins, including a career-best victory over former European champion Esham Pickering at the same venue last June.

l Michael Lomax is set for an English welterweight title clash against Nottingham titleholder Adnan Amar after the fight was ordered by the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBofC).

Southpaw Lomax, a former ABA title winner at Stepney's Broad Street club, defeated French rival Yoann Camonin over eight rounds at York Hall last week and will now get his title chance in the next six months.

The BBBofC have stated that purse bids for the fight should reach their offices by Wednesday May 13, with the contest scheduled to take place by the end of September 2009.

Lomax, a member of the local stable trained by former Bethnal Green lightweight Paul Cook, hit the headlines taking the �25,000 winners award in the Matchroom Prizefighter welterweight competition last autumn.

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