Kerman Lejarraga (27-0) retains his European welterweight title with a fourth round KO of Frankie Gavin (26-4) in Bilbao.
Sickening body shot to close the show from the 'Beast of Bilbao', who entered the ring menacingly wearing a scarf covering his face in the design of a skull.
Gavin started well from the away corner but soon found himself in trouble when ‘The Revolver’ landed some heavy shots in the fourth.
In the opening round, the pair traded jabs for the first half but Gavin, adopting a high guard, soon began to deploy the back hand and managed to land a variety of different shots, the champion just sticking to his jab.
In the second round, Gavin grew in confidence, countering the Spaniard really well and began to whip in some body shots with both left and right hands. It was an entertaining battle that saw the pair exchanging in close quarters, Lejarraga loading up and missing regularly, Gavin in control of proceedings, boxing sublimely on the back foot.
In the third segment, Lejarraga landed a strong left hook on Gavin to which he switched feet and answered with one of his own. In the final minute, Lejarraga clipped Gavin on the chin with a right hook but Gavin still looked good, landing several left uppercuts throughout the entire round.
In the fourth and final round, Gavin's mouthpiece was dislodged courtesy of a stright right from the champion landing clean on the button on the two-minute mark. Despite landing two good right hooks on the European, Gavin was soon stunned by a chopping right hook with a minute left to go in the round. Gavin was soon forced back into the ropes but managed to draw upon decades of experience to keep his head and torso moving, making the champion, who sensed blood, miss wildly. The southpaw even managed to turn his opponent around and pummel him back with a series of combinations, but he was soon hurt again when he mistakingly held his feet and was back on the ropes under duress with just 30 seconds to go. Again, he fired back and the warring pair fought it out in the centre of the ring, but a left hook to the body was the conclusive finish that Lejarraga had been looking for.
The World title contender from Birmingham, signed to BCB Promotions, couldn’t have won the European belt anyway after failing to make the championship weight limit, tipping the scales almost 5lbs over. He cited difficulties in his trip as the reason his weight wasn't regularly maintained in the final week of camp. His fear of flying meant he had to take a ferry to Spain, which took over eight hours of travelling.
Lejarraga retained his title and improved to 27-0 with 22 KOs.
The former British and Commonwealth welterweight champion will have some serious questions to answer about his career going forward. This is his third defeat in championship fights in a row - Kell Brook for the IBF World welterweight title in May 2015; an eighth round KO at the hands of fellow Brummie Sam Eggington in October 2016 for the WBC International welterweight title, down three times in total; and his latest loss on foreign soil.
The 33-year-old has now failed to make weight for his last two title fights and hasn't managed to make the welterweight limit since his World title fight with Brook over three-and-a-half years ago.
'Funtime' initially began his career at Hall Green ABC with trainer Tom Chaney and sparring partner Tommy Langford, a relationship that saw him become the first ever World amateur chamion from England, culminating in the World title shot at IBF king Kell Brook.
Since then, his career has seen him lose back-to-back title fights, both of which he failed to make weight, and his only wins coming against journeymen. His latest loss showed his need for a strong leader to instill the discipline in him that has been missing since his Hall Green days and his performance showed that he can still mix it at championship level, a move back down to British level would be ideal, where Londoner Johnny Garton currently reigns supreme.