By Kevin Francis, courtesy of The Daily Star
JOE CALZAGHE has tipped pal Gavin Rees to fulfil his dream of becoming a two-weight world champion.
Gavin Rees, nicknamed ‘The Rock’, goes for the vacant European lightweight title in Cardiff tonight.
And former world super-middleweight ace Joe Calzaghe is backing him all the way.
Rees, 31, who claimed the WBA light-welterweight crown in 2007, meets Irishman Andy Murray as he returns to fight in the Welsh capital for the first time in three years.
Newbridge-based Rees takes on Cavan’s Murray on a great night for British boxing as Carl Froch puts his WBA super-middleweight title on the line against Glen Johnson in Atlantic City in the early hours of tomorrow morning.
Calzaghe said: “Gavin can move right in to world title contention by winning this one and proving he can mix it with the best.”
Rees has been out of action for seven months since winning the British title against John Watson in Newport in November.
But after a successful operation on the nose problem that forced him out of his rematch with Watson, Rees is raring to put on a great show in his backyard.
Calzaghe said: “I’ve known Gavin since he was nine when my dad started training him and he trained with me.
“I’ve been watching him right up until him leaving my dad’s gym last year.
“So I’ve been close to him for more than 20 years, not only as a fighter but also as a friend.
“I follow his career closely, even though he’s no longer training with us, and I always wish him the best of luck. I love Gavin, but even more so, I love watching him win titles.
“I hope he does it and makes it another great night for Wales.”
Calzaghe will have butterflies in his stomach when Rees enters the ring tonight, but he has no doubts about his pal’s quality.
“I’m more relaxed when I’m in the ring fighting, rather than watching Gavin in there,” he said.
“But as long as Gavin trains 100 per cent and has his mind on the job he can be world class.
“In the past he hasn’t prepared as well as he should have and hasn’t fulfilled his potential.
“Yet when he won the world title he was in tremendous shape.
“He can mix it with the best and I have no doubt he is young enough to be a world title contender if he wins this one.”