By Alexey Sukachev
British welterweight hope Frankie Gavin (15-0, 11 KOs) successfully retained the BBBofC British 147lb title for the first time, stopping Jason Welborn (11-2, 5 KOs) within the seventh round in dominant fashion.
WBO #8 Gavin was in control of the fight from round one, but his win wasn't secured immediately, as Welborn did everything to upset the bookmakers' odds. Sensing he isn't there for boxing, the native of Tividale tried to stalk 2007 world amateur champion and did get some success. Welborn courageously took the punishment, walked through it and attempted to bully Gavin. He had some moments in the second round, and Gavin was even forced to clinch during that stanza. However, as soon as Birmingham's southpaw established his distance and began to throw a nasty right jab into the Welborn's face, his future victory was a question of time.
Rounds four and five were gradually taken by the better man. Gavin used various shots, including uppercuts, to evaluate Welborn's weaknesses. The main one was his liver section. Gavin started to unload more and more body punches in the sixth, also rotating with his opponent and peppering him with the jab.
Midpoint into the seventh, Frankie landed a painful counter left hook, and Welborn was forced to take a knee. Right after the count, Gavin jumped on his foe and started to deliver vicious blows. Soon Welborn was cornered and found no place to hide. Punches were getting in (some well below the line), and referee Ian John-Lewis this time correctly stepped in to halt the action. Official tine of stoppage was 2:35 of the seventh round.
It couldn't have started any worse for the IBF #14 lightweight Martin Gethin than it had started in the first couple of rounds of his encounter with rough and determined Ben Murphy. Much shorter Murphy resembled a tiger (not only by sporting tiger-print pants) in the ring, going hard after lankier Gethin, throwing big punches with really bad intentions. Those were his rounds with a very little doubt in it, as Gethin was tagged often, ate multiple and unnecessary shots and was unable to set his jab up in order to keep Murphy at bay.
However, in the third Gethin started to adjust his style to the awkward opponent. He utilized his potent right jab and set the needed distance, forcing his nemesis to forget about his primary weapon - painful hooks to the liver. Meanwhile, Gethin began to stick his jab straight into the opponent's face. In round five, he found new ways to deal more punishment to Murphy. He used multiple shots with little accent on each punch and began to punish his foe with his own arsenal - body shots. He fenced with his front hand brilliantly. Murphy tried to find a room for big, looping shots but he wasn't successful.
Murphy's bursts of activity decreased drastically in number after the seventh. At the end of round eight, Gethin started a multipunch, non-stop attack on his opponent, and a minute-long break between the rounds wasn't a breather for Murphy. Gethin threw more and more punches with each second of the ninth, finally forcing Murphy only to cover under fire. Referee stepped in and signalized a rightful stoppage.
With the win, Martin Gethin (24-3-1, 11 KOs) became the new BBBofC British lightweight champion. Murphy drops down to 9-6-1, with 5 KOs.
In a minor but still very sound upset, previously unbeaten Tom Shaw (8-1) was cracked in the first round by travelling trialhorse Mark McKray, who is now 4-17-1, with 3 KOs. Shaw was put down and hurt badly with a huge left hook and never recovered. McKray got the things done with a smashing right hook at 2:59 of the round. Upset detected!
No one, not even former cruiserweight king Enzo Maccarinelli, was able to stop tough-as-nails English Irishman Shane McPhilbin. Chris Keane (9-0, 4 KOs) became the first boxer to accomplish the task, when he stopped McPhilbin (now 8-5, 4 KOs) in the third round, scoring three knockdowns in process.
Keane, 2009 ABA heavyweight champion, started cautiously but confidently. He used his quick left hand to tag McPhilbin in the first. Shane tried to reply with sneaky left hooks and right crosses but Keane was elusive, popping on his feet, getting in and immediately out of McPhilbin's range of fire. The second round was more of the same pattern.
In the third, McPhilbin tried to engage Keane into a brawl and paid a dear price for that. Keane landed a couple of hard right hands on the onrushing McPhilbin and chopped him down with the second punch. McPhilbin got up but soon was force to take a knee after a follow-up barrage of Keane. meanwhile, the undefeated fighter connected with a right hand, when Shane was already down on a knee, but wasn't penalized for a clear violation. McPhilbin continued to fight on, but after another barrage of Keane was down (and out) for the third time in the round. Time of stoppage was 1:28. What makes the win extra sweet is the fact that Keane is now the BBBofC Midlands Area cruiserweight champion and in line for the fight versus the winner of the all-British showdown between Jon Lewis Dickinson and David Dolan in February.
In a tactical six-rounder, super middleweight Grant Cunningham (7-0, 2 KOs) displayed a good jab and very potent bodypunching abilities to methodically outscore and outpunch upset-minded "Mad" Mitch Mitchell (1-3, 1 KO). Cunnigham used his left hook to an extent and put Mitchell down with this punch late in round five. However, his lack of power prevented the fight from a stoppage win. The sole score was 58-55 - for Cunnigham. BoxingScene had it 60-53 - also for the native of Stafford.