Gavin Rees has the opportunity to etch his name in to the history books, with a fight against Cuban Richard Abril, in a fight agreed in principal to take place in either late September or early October for the vacant WBA lightweight title in the UK. Rees has the chance to become only the second Welsh two weight division world champion, after the great Joe Calzaghe.
“It would be great to be the second man from Wales to do it, it would be a great honor for me and something I really want to do,” Rees told ThaBoxingVoice.com.
Rees earned his first world title by out pointing Souleyman M’baye for the WBA Light Welterweight belt in 2007 in front of a raucous crowd at the International Arena in Cardiff.
The Rock’s reign was short lived as he relinquished his title to Andreas Kotelnikin his first defense.
After that, many wrote the Welshman off but a drop in weight class under the tutelage of new trainer Gary Lockett has revitalized his career.
“I’m in with Garry training properly, eating properly and I feel like a 22 year old,” Gavin professes.
Their partnership has seen Rees go undefeated at lightweight; out classing his rivals. In his last outing he unified the British and European belts by stopping Liverpudlian Derry Mathews in the 9th stanza which has dispelled misconceptions of Rees being a 6 round fighter.
“Taking the weight of too late was killing my legs in the later rounds, but we’re doing it properly now and the last two fights proved I’m not a six round fighter.”
His opponent has 3 blemishes on his record, all split decision defeats to household names; Breidis Prescott, Hank Lundy, and most recently Brandon Rios. The Rios fight was one which Abril appeared to dominate, yet the judges gave the victory to Rios in a decision which many rank as the worst of the year.
Gavin realizes that the Cuban represents a tough challenge but it is one which he is relishing. “He’s a top lad but when you want to be world champion you need to fight the best. I’ve been in good form of late, so it should be a good fight.”
Standing at 5’11”, Abril will have a considerable height advantage over Rees, however this isn’t anything unusual for The Rock having always been short for whichever weight class he has fought in he has made a career of defeating taller men.
“I’ve always dealt with that, I’ve never fought anyone my own height. I find it quite easy to be honest,” affirmed Rees.
Although Rees is fully focused on the Abril fight and certainly not overlooking it, it is impossible not to contemplate a domestic unification fight with the winner of Burns vs. Mitchell for the Scotsman’s WBO strap should Rees overcome the Cuban.
“Imagine that in Britain? It would massive.”