Frankie Gavin

Not the end for Frankie Gavin - I will be back stronger, he vows

Published On Monday, November 19, 2018By Tim Rickson
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Frankie Gavin vows to return stronger after latest defeat

Kerman Lejarraga (27-0) stopped Frankie Gavin (26-4) with a body blow in the fourth round to retain his European welterweight title with in Bilbao.

Lejarraga kept his belt along with his unbeaten record and improved to 27-0 with 22 KOs.

Gavin slipped to his fourth professional career defeat and third championship defeat 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 former Brtish and Commonwealth welterweight champion hasn't held a title now for four years when he outpointed an unbeaten Bradley Skeete in the fourth defence of his Lonsdale belt in London.

He dispelled rumours that he was walking away from the sport by stating on social media after his fight: "Weren't the result I wanted. I tried and will come again. I was boxing well, had a good camp, was fit and everything was going well...shit last week but one of them things.

"I will be back and I will be back stronger. Had a good chat with my manager last night and I believe I have lots to offer. I felt comfortable in there until I got caught to the body."

Gavin started well from the away corner; 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 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 round.

In the fourth and final round, Gavin's mouthpiece was dislodged courtesy of a stright right from the champion. 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, forced back into the ropes but he managed to draw upon decades of experience to keep his head and torso moving, making the champion, who sensed blood, miss wildly. The southpaw 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.

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 champion from England, culminating in the World title shot at 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, where a move back down to British level could be on the cards, where Londoner Johnny Garton currently reigns supreme.