Frankie Gavin Finds Himself with Many Options


Frankie GavinFrankie Gavin (21-1, 13KO’s) has conveyed his intentions to make progress towards world level with his move from Frank Warren Promotions to Matchroom Sports.

The southpaw welterweight from Birmingham, England is now under contract to Eddie Hearn, who also happens to promote the only fighter with a welterweight world championship that isn’t named Floyd Mayweather or Manny Pacquiao; IBF title-holder Kell Brook.

At 29 years-old Gavin has amassed a near-perfect record, his only defeat coming to the European champion Leonard Bundu in August of last year. Bundu himself came into that fight at the Wolverhampton Civic Hall with an unblemished resume and brought all of his wiles and skill into the belly of the beast to gain a close split decision victory.

I was ringside for that fight, and the crowd was unbelievable in such a tiny venue. A solid wall of sound went up when Gavin emerged for his ring walk, and it became no less intense throughout the twelve rounds. If anything those in attendance became more boisterous when it dawned on them that Bundu was there to win and not just pass along his belt to the young local favourite.

He dropped Gavin in the sixth with a sickening body shot and cut him in the next session. In the end, those were the only conclusive events in the fight that separated them, and Gavin had earned himself his first loss as a pro.

In doing so, however, he revealed his character. When he went down -for the first time in his career- he looked like he was about to throw up, never mind get up.

The fight looked done until he spat out his gum shield, ensuring a warning from the referee and buying himself a few extra seconds of precious recovery time, and fought on. He was under intense pressure for the next round or two but began to box his way back into the fight and was clearly in control by the time the final bell rang. If you have to lose, that’s the way to do it.

That was surely a bitter pill to swallow for a man used to being a cut above the rest. He was the UK’s first ever gold medallist at the World Amateur Championships in 2007 and only bypassed the 2008 Beijing Olympics (as one of Britain’s strongest contenders to bring home the top prize) due to a failure to make the lightweight limit, something that famed nutritionist Kerry Kayes believes cost Gavin dearly. In an article on from 2008, Kayes is quoted as saying:

“My heart could bleed for the kid. How would you feel if you were in his shoes? What happened this morning has cost Frankie Gavin a million pounds? That’s how much they were saying an Olympic gold medal would have been worth to him if he turned pro straight after the Games. And it’s just been ruined now.”

According to Kayes he was not allowed to travel with Gavin to the games and help control his temperamental weight, having done a fine job of it in the weeks leading up to the tournament, therefore, because of a decision that was made well over his head, Gavin was essentially handicapped in his attempts to springboard in to the pros with the momentum a gold medal inevitably provides.

Regardless, this unsavoury occurrence did not tarnish his ability and his advancements in the paid-ranks have been made in the fashion of a man who feels vindicated in fighting his way. He rarely looks rushed or ruffled and always adheres to his own principles of combat. Leaning forward with his lead hand low, he is a patient conductor with a propensity for judging the distance between himself and his foe. He is a crisp counter-puncher with succinct footwork who will unload with combinations only when the opportunity to do so becomes evident.

He made light work of his first ten opponents before struggling past the former-footballer Curtis Woodhouse by split decision in July of 2011. But compensated for that hiccup by clearly beating former world champion Junior Witter two fights later to capture the British welterweight title.

The most impressive display of his talents came in June 2013 when he took the soul of Commonwealth welterweight champion Denton Vassell (then 20-0) by gradually dissecting him over seven rounds before the contest was called to a close because of damage to Vassell’s jaw. I advise anyone who is interested to watch it to see Gavin at his best.

It was smooth sailing for three more bouts until that previously mentioned match-up with Bundu, and his two wins since have been a quick stoppage over a mismatched Hungarian before a quite dull affair in which he beat another undefeated fighter in Bradley Skeete by unanimous decision.

That was his last appearance before his move to Matchroom Sports, and it appears from the outside to have come at the right time. The last thing a fighter needs is to stagnate when he feels he should be knocking on the door for world honours and it is difficult to see how Gavin would have been manoeuvred into a Mayweather or Pacquiao fight had he stayed with Frank Warren.

With Kell Brook now an attainable target for him, Gavin should be spurred on by such an incentive and look to impress the larger audiences he will be displayed for when fighting on Sky Sports as opposed to the niche Boxnation TV.

He is due to appear on the undercard when Brook returns to action on March 28th in Sheffield before headlining his own show at the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham on May 9th; an arena more in-keeping with the image of a uncrowned champion-in-waiting. If he puts on two laudable showings on these two dates against credible opposition, it will be difficult to overlook him as a prospective challenger to Brook’s title.