The sombreros and Speedy Gonzalez Mexican Hat Dance tune are back!
Michael Gomez lit up the Manchester fight scene in the late 90s with his thrilling performances and legion of loyal fans throwing their sombreros in the air after watching their hero storm to victory.
Now his son Michael Gomez Jnr., 19, carries on the family tradition when he makes his professional debut on the undercard of the big Dereck Chisora v Tyson Fury card on Saturday 26th July at the Phones 4 U Arena in Manchester.
Gomez Snr’s incredible life story has been well document and was turned into a movie.
Born in the back of a car in Ireland into a family of nine brothers and sisters, Gomez and his family moved to Manchester when he was ten. He spent much of his youth in children’s homes, but then found legendary Manchester trainer Brian Hughes’ boxing gym and began training. Cleared of manslaughter after he hit a man during a gang fight outside a nightclub after it was ruled he acted in self defence, he was then pronounced temporarily dead after he was stabbed during a street fight.
He changed his surname from Armstrong to Gomez - after his hero, the Puerto Rican great, Wilfredo Gomez - when another boxer had the same name.
Inside the ring Gomez Snr. thrilled his fans with his brawling style that took him to Central Area and IBF Intercontinental titles at featherweight, WBO and WBA Intercontinental, WBU World and winning outright the Lonsdale belt at super-featherweight.
He faced some of the big names including Amir Khan and Ricky Burns, but is best remembered for his unbelievable upset of then unbeaten golden boy Alex Arthur in his Edinburgh backyard, stopping Arthur in the fifth round of a brutal fight.
Gomez Jnr, who won 37 out of 49 fights as an amateur, enters the professional ranks when he takes on tough Welshman Darren Pryce over four rounds at featherweight.
“It’s fantastic to make my pro debut in the venue that my dad fought at many times in his heyday,” Said Gomez Jnr.
“As a kid I was more into football and didn’t really like the boxing at first, and I don’t ever remember going to watch my dad fight, it was only when my mates started going to the boxing gym and I followed them that it went on from there,”
“My dad did great things in the ring and I’m really proud of him, to win a British title outright and a version of the world title is a fantastic achievement and I know he wants me to achieve the best that I can. Sometimes it’s strange relating to the dad at home to watching a video of the same guy who’s smashing up Alex Arthur,”
“He’s more on hand with my training now and is up the gym giving me plenty of help and advice. He’s always on my case, especially banging on about my diet and maintaining my weight, he can be a pain, but he’s got my best interest at heart,”
“When my dad was fighting he had a huge following and he become a cult hero in Manchester, I know that the majority of them will be following me now as well as a new generation of fans, and of course I’ll be wearing the sombrero and coming into the ring with the famous Mexican tune playing!”
Gomez Snr. added, “He’s a great little fighter, he’s more dedicated to the sport than I ever was.”
“He trains hard, puts the work in and lives the life, I wish I could have been like him when I turned pro, plus he’s better looking!”
“It’s a big step up going from amateur to pro, when the headguard comes off and it’s just the little gloves on, it’s a whole new world, but I know that he’ll cope with it,”
“He fights with the same intensity that I did, bobbing and slipping and throwing the short hooks and uppercuts that I used to love. Sometimes he forgets his boxing and wants to have a fight, but that’s the Irish-Mexican in him!”
“I’m more nervous building up to his pro debut than I was for any of my fights, it’s hard seeing your son in the ring and the father in you wants to come out and protect them, but he’s his own man now and I’m fully behind him in his career.”
June 19, 2014