Frankie Gavin continued his ring apprenticeship with a ninth-round stoppage of Jason Welborn at a packed Walsall Town Hall. The former world amateur champion has experienced a turbulent four years since turning professional but made progress in 2012, picking up the Lonsdale belt with a dull but professional win over awkward former world champion Junior Witter.
The Birmingham man, with a record of 14-0 (10KOs) heading in, was expected to make his first defence in style against Rowley Regis puncher Welborn (11-1, 5KOs), who freely admitted in the build-up he could not match Gavin for quality.
Welborn looked increasingly desperate as the bout reached the seventh, lunging in and being punished in the process. A left to the body then had Welborn down on one knee and though he rose, Gavin slammed in power shots to head and body until referee Ian John-Lewis stepped in to save the dejected Black Country man further punishment.
Gavin said: "I'm getting better and was pleased with my performance tonight. Training wasn't ideal as I injured my left arm during camp and my son Daniel was admitted to hospital with illness last night but I showed my mental strength in there. I'm ranked number one for the European title and I'd like to go for that now. I'm ready."