By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
FRANKIE GAVIN aims to boost his European and world title hopes when he defends his British welterweight crown against Jason Welborn tonight.
The 27-year-old looks to have put his career back on track and is now realising the promise he showed in becoming the only Brit to win a world amateur title.
Classy southpaw Gavin – who is unbeaten in his 14 paid bouts – out-boxed Junior Witter to claim the British belt with a unanimous points win in November.
And he has found his zest for the sport again, ahead of his first defence.
Gavin said: “After my troubles, 2013 has to be a good year for me and I want to end it with the Lonsdale Belt in a nice frame in our house.”
The Lonsdale Belt, awarded to all British champions, can be kept permanently after two successful defences.
“I would love to go for the European title this year and world title next year, because that’s what I am in this business to win,” he added.
“But first of all, I have to take care of Welborn.
“The British belt is a beautiful and prestigious one and he wants it – but I will be leaving with it.”
Gavin meets fellow Midlands fighter Welborn at Walsall Town Hall and said: “He’s strong and a big puncher – but if I can’t beat him I may as well give up.”
Gavin’s trainer Tom Chaney said: “Frankie has been getting his old self back with every fight, after a difficult period.
“He’s through that now and will just keep getting better and better and is raring to go for this fight against Welborn.
“Frankie will punish Welborn every time he misses.
“You will see a lot more work from him and he will be boxing with more accuracy and speed.”
Gavin is a massive 12-1 ON favourite while some betting firms give Welborn just a 40-1 chance of success.
But the 26-year-old Welborn, who has won 11 of his 12 pro fights, said: “Being the underdog will inspire me.
“Frank has a great amateur style but that means he has still got a lot of amateur in him, so we’ll see how he responds when I pressure him.
“For a welter, he will discover I am really strong – that will be my big advantage.”
● THE Gavin v Welborn fight is live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546) tonight from 8pm. Join at www.boxnation.com