By Terence Dooley
Birmingham’s Frankie Gavin fights Young Mutley for the WBO Inter-Continental welterweight title on May 21st. Gavin and promoter Frank Warren announced the fight today. It will land on the undercard of the James DeGale versus George Groves, Juergen Braehmer-Nathan Cleverly doubleheader at London’s O2 venue.
Gavin has compiled a 9-0 (8) record, he won the Irish light-welterweight title courtesy of a fifth round TKO win over Michael Kelly in September of last year; his last action saw him hammer Michael Lomax to defeat over seven rounds in February. The 25-year-old’s only distance win came via a six round shutout decision against Peter McDonagh in February 2010.
‘Fun Time’ won gold at the World Amateur Championships in 2007, netting an ABA lightweight medal in the same year. Frankie was seen as certain medallist going into 2008’s Olympics only for weight issues to force his withdrawal from Team GB.
Mutley, 29-5 (14), has had an up-and-down career. The West Bromwich boxer won the British welterweight title by handing Michael Jennings his first defeat in January 2006 via a contentious split decision.
The 34-year-old, real name Lee Woodey, lost his title at the first hurdle after a FOTY thriller with Kevin Anderson. A left hook floored Anderson heavily in round two only for the Scottish boxer to claw his way back during the middle rounds before finishing the exhausted champion at 2:18 of the tenth.
Weight making struggles, a lack of focus and a shocking 2009 third round reverse to journeyman Mihaita Mutu seemed to signal the end of the Midlander’s colourful career. However, he strung together two wins last year and will now bid to cause a massive upset by handing Gavin his first defeat.
Mutley’s last tilt at major honours saw him lose to Colin Lynes for the British and vacant European 140lb belts, Lynes dominated en route to an eighth round win, repeating the trick, if not the result, by handing Mutley a point’s loss in 2009’s Prizefighter: The Light-Welterweights tournament.
“Frankie is going up in weight to take on a very experienced fighter who is on a roll. It is a tough fight for Frank, but I’ve a lot of faith in his ability,” revealed Warren when confirming the contest.
“He needs these types of challenges. Hopefully we’ll be looking for something even bigger for him by the end of the year. He’s not been as busy as I’d like him to be but he’ll be fighting regularly this year. Mutley will be looking to upset the applecart, he has wins over Michael Jennings and a lot of good fighter – he has a great pedigree.
“Frankie can still do light-welter but I believe he’ll be more comfortable at this weight. If he wins he gets a top ten world ranking, that is what we’re looking for. I’m not looking to bring Frankie along slowly because he’s already got a wealth of amateur experience. I would make his next fight against [Paul] McCloskey if he beats Mutley. That is how confident I am. That is how good he is.”
Gavin’s win over Lomax took place up at welter; the fighter believes he can oscillate between the weights in order to put himself in a prime position. “I am happy about the situation, it is a bit less pressure on making weight but I’ll be back down in weight for my next fight in July,” confirmed Gavin.
“I think this is a great chance and at the moment I want to do welterweight. Mutley is a former British champion; he has done something that I want to achieve. I will concentrate on myself and will be a world champion by 2012. I wanted [British light-welterweight boss Ashley] Theopane but he doesn’t want it so I’m going to move past that.
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