By Alexey Sukachev
FULL REPORT TO COME...............
Gymnase Georges Racine, Clichy la Garenne, Hauts-de-Seine, France - Former WBA light welterweight champion and now WBC #10 and WBO #14-ranked lightweight, Gavin Rees (36-1-1, 17 KOs), successfully retained his European 135lb title for the second time after a seventh-round stoppage of determined ex-EBU beltholder Anthony Mezaache (21-7-3, 6 KOs).
The fight wasn't going the Frenchman's way from the very beginning. Rees of Newport, Wales, was stronger and more agile in the first round, landing harder and cleaner blows during wild exchanges in the close quarters. The second stanza was more even but late into it - Mezzache suffered a very bad cut in the center of his forehead. It wasn't clear if it was the result of an accidental headbutt or a punch thrown by the Welshman. Sensing the contest was flying away from him, Mezaache went almost berserk in the third trading punches with Rees to great enthusiasm from the local fans.
Rounds four and five were fought on almost even terms but it seemed like Rees was fighting not at his full capacity, while badly bleeding Mezaache gave his very best to stay in the fight. In the sixth stanza, these feelings were brutally proven when at last Rees took the full control of the fight and started to punish France's best lightweight with visible ease.
In the seventh, punishment continued to pile up in favor of the Welshman, as he floored Mezaache for a moment with a combination of punches. The Frenchman continued with the fight but his legs were all over the place. He ate yet another right-left combination, was pinned to the ropes and saved by the referee from further punishment at 2:17 of the seventh round. A good win for Rees, who is slowly restoring himself to his old form.
French featherweight Khedafi Djelkhir (11-0, 8 KOs), who earned the silver medal at 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics, used his trademark aggressiveness and bulldog-like character to dominate aging Venezuelan Jose Luis Graterol (14-13-4, 5 KOs) over six one-sided rounds. Djelkhir was always in the face of Graterol, bringing a continuous pressure to the Venezuelan and thus getting a well-earned unanimous decision.
-----------------Tags: Gavin Rees