Frankie Gavin claims British welter crown with decision trumping of Junior Witter

1 Nov

Alan Dawson – London

Undefeated welterweight prospect Frankie Gavin won his third professional title – the British welterweight belt – with a convincing points victory over former world champion Junior Witter at York Hall in London on Thursday, November 1. Gavin looked out of his depth in the first three to four rounds but came from behind as Witter’s engine began to run out of steam.

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Dawson’s scorecard

Round 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
10 10 10 10 9 9 9 9 9 8
9 10
9 9 9
10 10 10 10 10 10 10 10 9

Official verdict: Gavin by unanimous decision (119-109, 117-112, 117-110).

“This means everything,” said Gavin, who added the coveted Lonsdale title to his WBO Inter-Continental title and Irish light welterweight title. Claiming a sought-after domestic honour is a far cry from Gavin’s questionable status as a pro last year as he pulled out of a fight and had well-documented issues outside of the ring. He continued: “I’ve had problems with my family with my mum having cancer. I didn’t know what I was going to do, but I’m back.

“Witter is still a force,” the 14-0-0, 10ko fighter added. “He’s someone I look up to and to share the ring with him is an honour.”

Walking to the ring with a varied collection of belts including the Lonsdale, EBU and WBC title, the difference in experience between 38-year-old Witter (41-6-2, 22ko) and 27-year-old Gavin was vast. What Gavin lacked in professional pedigree he made up for in amateur background as he remains Britain’s only World Amateur Champion yet, when the chime of the ring bell began the first round, it was Witter who asserted himself as ring general by taking control of the centre of the squared circle.

Witter’s unorthodox and awkward style was fortified by his switch-hitting and within the opening 90 seconds, the defending British titlist at welterweight adopted the southpaw stance. What few exchanges there were in the first chapter, Witter got the better of, with Gavin’s nose marking up slightly and Witter punching his way out of Gavin’s clinches.

Witter’s boxing style has long been one based on reactions, rather than action, but his accuracy against Gavin was telling as Funtime Frankie’s face contained bruising on the cheek and a cut on the bridge of the nose. Witter, frustratingly for the challenger, was an elusive target and, while not a crowd-pleasing style, it was a true hit-and-not-get-hit start to Witter’s first defence of his Lonsdale title.

A more strategic encounter ensued in the third stanza as both fighters maintained a portside posture. With the action at a lull, that favoured only one man – Witter, who relished the slow, methodical pace of the jousting. That slow pace, though, almost ground to a complete halt in the fourth as neither fighter put themselves into a position that was worthy of winning the round.

Gavin’s corner, cheer-led by Dean Powell, implored the Birmingham boxer to “let his hands go” as he was trying to be “too punch perfect”. This worked to a degree in the fifth round, but Witter landed the punch of the round midway through the stanza. Building on his success in the fifth, Gavin took control of the sixth with a higher work-rate as the elder Witter slowed and struggled to match the pace that the challenger forced.

Witter showed frustrations with Gavin’s rabbit-punching, something that the referee warned the younger man about in the seventh. Late out of his stool at the beginning of the eighth, Witter’s body language was polar opposite to Gavin, who had grown in confidence throughout the argument. Witter’s accuracy was not as on point as it was in the first quarter of battle and his reflexes had also suffered which factored into Gavin’s ability to get in, land single or two punch moves, then get out again unscathed.

Schooled at the famed Wincobank gym in Sheffield (alumni include Prince Naseem Hamed, Johnny Nelson and current undefeated British pair Kell Brook and Kid Galahad), Witter had infuriated head coach Dominic Ingle who stormed at the veteran boxer in between rounds. Witter, who had been told he had thrown rounds away by dancing around the ring, failed to listen to his trainer and was duly warned by the referee for his inactivity and holding his left arm behind his back.

Gavin, as one might expect, capitalised on Junior’s stamina issues and steadily racked up the rounds. In the penultimate stanza, Gavin took even more wind out of Witter’s lungs by tormenting him with acute body shots. And, in the final round, while Witter danced a jig and switched from southpaw to orthodox to back again, Gavin quietly went about his jabbing and one-two business.

“I heard what Anthony Farnell said about me… that (Ronnie) Heffron could take me [but] no disrespect to them, I trained with Farnell and he always said I was better than Heffron so I don’t know why’s he saying that,” Gavin said post-fight on what challenge could be next for him. “But listen, if he wants the fight, I’ll do the defence. There’s a fight to be made, I’m not calling him out but if he wants to do it [we can].”

On his sixth professional defeat, Witter lamented: “I was nowhere near my best. Training camp went really well, I just couldn’t get my hands going. At my best, I could have beat him but today I wasn’t at my best.”

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One Response to “Frankie Gavin claims British welter crown with decision trumping of Junior Witter”


  1. 2011-2012 News Archive « On The Beak - January 17, 2013

    […] Frankie Gavin claims British welter crown with decision trumping of Junior Witter […]

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