Frankie Gavin: ‘My Stoppage Ratio Is a Lot Higher Than Welborn’s and I’ve Fought In Far Higher Class.’
Birmingham might be Britain’s Second City but it’s yet to produce a bonafide professional boxing world champion since World War Two.
In recent years Pat Cowdell, Robert McCracken, Wayne Elcock and Matt Macklin have all faltered at the final hurdle.
However, there is growing optimism that Hall Green’s Frankie Gavin, Britain’s only ever world amateur champion and the reigning domestic welterweight king, might possess the tools to finally break the jinx.
Despite well chronicled problems outside the ropes, the silky southpaw remains unbeaten in 14 (10 stoppage wins) and is gradually returning to the form which made him invincible in his final years in the unpaid code.
Just four days out from his maiden defence against Walsall favourite Jason Welborn, at Walsall Town Hall this Friday, the 27 year old Brummie spoke at length to boxing writer Glynn Evans and clearly he already had his game face on.
Here, in his own words, Gavin talks about his childhood years and early ring career in the Second City, his fanatical fans and how returning home has rekindled his zest to replicate his amateur deeds and re-conquer the world.
Gavin v Welborn is live and exclusive on BoxNation (Sky Ch. 437/Virgin Ch. 546) this Friday from 8pm. Join at www.boxnation.com
“I grew up in Yardley with my elder brother John and my sister Donna. We were brought up by our mum and she worked so hard, had three jobs to make sure we had a good meal on the table every night and never suffered. She beat cancer last year. Now she’s got the flu!
Other than that, it was a pretty normal childhood. I’d go out eight o’clock in the morning and stay out all day, playing football and getting chased. I’d slag all the bigger, older lads then leg it. Seemed fun at the time! I was half decent at the football - always fit and I could run – but I knew I’d never make it as a pro.
As I grew older, I’d be out on my bike all day, in the parks. The next door neighbours were boxers and one Monday evening, when was 12, I followed ‘em on my bike to the boxing gym. They gave me a spar the first night, took me to get ‘medicalled’ on the Friday and got me my first bout within a fortnight! I lost on points then won the next 12. It all happened a bit quick for me.
Starting out, I used to fight scarred! I was always on the move, always blocking, very good on my feet. As I got older and more confident, I learned to land my shots and then move. I never got hurt. I was very small for my age. When I first won the schoolboys in Year 11 (age 15-16) at school, I was just seven and a half stone. The following year, I won the Junior Olympics at eight stone.
Growing up, Robbie McCracken was the big local star from Birmingham. He had a lovely jab and could also whack a bit but, growing up, I was far more interested in the amateur boxing. I’d go to as many shows as I could around the Midlands and sit down ringside to study the boxers, watch every bout.
I knew everything about every boxer; their weight, their record, who they’d beat and lost to. I never took notes, just stored it all in my head. When I got home, I’d spend ages on the amateur boxing (web)sites. I used to do exactly the same at the big international tournaments around the world once I started boxing for England.
As I started winning things and getting a reputation, I began to develop a huge following around Birmingham. However, as I progressed, I got to box there less and less. Usually, when I entered the ABAS the other entrants immediately pulled out. When I first won the senior ABAs in 2005, over 70 travelled down to The ExCel in London to watch me. There were four limousines full.....I think it was someone’s birthday!
On the Olympic squad, we weren’t supposed to box for our clubs but I snuck a crafty one in and boxed on a club show at the Mackadown Social Club in Tile Cross. It was ram packed and plenty were locked out. I beat a kid called Cottey in what ended up my last amateur fight. (Gavin withdrew from the Olympics with weight-making issues).
So far, two of my 14 pro fights have been in Brum. For my debut at the NIA (National Indoor Arena) I sold over 800 tickets out of my own hand. All the Blues (Birmingham City fans) turned out for me. I’ve had the club crest on me shorts for every fight. That was the best reception I’ve ever had.
Then, the night I won the Irish light-welter title by stopping Michael Kelly at the LG Arena in Birmingham, I flogged about 720 myself. Matt Macklin, who topped the bill in a European title defence that night, and me have a lot of mutual friends. Several who bought tickets off him would’ve bought ‘em off me and vice-verse.
For this fight, I was given 250 and they went within nine days, without me pushing it. I sell ‘em ‘first come, first serve’ but there’s plenty who’ve been to all my fights who can’t get one. Trouble is, they all wait until last minute. Now I’m having to pester all the other boxers on the bill for spares.
I love the atmosphere on the night when I box locally but I hate selling the tickets. It seriously stresses you out. The night of a fight, I’ll be having to hang outside the front of the arena, passing on tickets to people. It ain’t good. Now Tom (Chaney, his trainer) don’t let me have anything to do with the tickets. He, and my brother John, sort ‘em.
Everybody knows I had a few problems in 2011. No point going into all that again. But since coming back home, living with my mum and training back at my old amateur gym with my old amateur coach (Chaney), I’ve become far more organised. My diet especially is far better.
I know I’ve been getting progressively better in the gym although it might not have been obvious in my last fight against Junior Witter. Getting the British title strapped around my waist was about the only thing to be happy about when you watch that tape back.
Witter had a lot of wind beforehand but I knew he’d not come to fight. People kept going on about his power but he hit me flush in about round three with a right hand-left uppercut and I was actually walking into the shots yet it didn’t bother me at all.
I knew I just had to keep my pace higher than his and not allow myself to get drawn into any of his nonsense like Colin Lynes had. I countered him every time and it wasn’t nice for him.
After my troubles, 2013 has to be a good year for me. I want it to end with the Lonsdale Belt in a nice frame in our house plus the European title, too. That said, if I was offered Khan, Bradley or Brook straight after my next fight, I’d snap their hands off. I’m not calling them out – I’ve no right – but I’m 27 now and need to know exactly where I’m at. If I lost, I could still come again.
I just want to stay healthy, keep busy and continue winning title fights so I have a great career. I’ve still got a long, long way to go to match the respect I had as an amateur. Above all, I want my son’s to be able to say: ‘Our Dad was Frankie Gavin, the great champion.’ That’s what I think of when it gets tough in training.
After the Witter fight (1st November), I had just a fortnight off and I’ve been training for Welborn since. Training through Christmas might’ve been a problem a few years back but now my priorities have changed. I don’t want to go out. I have my four year old lad Thomas for half the week and everything is sound. I’m living right, eating right and training very hard.
Every fight back with Tom, I’m getting stronger and adding different combinations. I’m winning good again. Forget Witter. No one looks good against him. Every opponent tells me I hit harder than they’d expected and if you sink your knuckles into anyone with those little eight ounce pro gloves on, trust me, you’re going to hurt ‘em.
But I’m never gonna be a one shot (knockout) merchant. Up in Manchester, I got a bit obsessed in the gym with trying to trade; making ‘em miss then blitzing ‘em with these 20 shot barrages. But you’d never get away with that at the very top world level where I intend boxing.
I won my world amateur title by using my feet, using my mind, being clever, and that’s how it’s gonna be from now on. I’m working on my strengths again and, when I use my skills, hardly anyone can beat me. I know I can bounce for 12 rounds and when they tire, I’ll put it on ‘em. I fatigue a lot of opponents mentally. You have to concentrate very hard, all the time when you’re in with me.
On Friday night, I’ve got to go into the Black Country? Big deal! I’ve boxed Russians in Russia, Yanks in America so I’m hardly going to be fazed boxing less than ten miles up the road. I’m not worried about going there in the slightest.
Welborn may have more numbers but I guarantee they won’t make as much noise as my mob. They always shout the roof off! I’m used to the big atmospheres, I’ve seen it all before, he hasn’t. Never mind skill wise, mentally, he’s really up against it.
Welborn isn’t going to worry me. I half watched his Midland Area fight with (James) Flinn (which Welborn won by fifth round stoppage) but didn’t really focus. He definitely made hard work of his last fight against a limited Czech (wpts 10, Jan Balog) then said he held him up cos he needed the rounds?! I don’t buy that.
In a recent interview, Welborn said I’m still very amateurish. We’ll see on the night. People tell me he can really punch but my stoppage ratio is a lot higher than his and I’ve fought in far higher class.
I boxed that Turk (Aydin) Selcuk (a recent WBC welter challenger) twice in the amateurs and, trust me, he could really whack. In the Commonwealth Games semis, I got past that Lenny Zappavigna from Australia who’s been knocking out world class in the pros. Trust me, Welborn’s power isn’t going to be an issue. He ain’t knocked anyone out. He won’t be forcing me into any corners. If I go there, it’ll be because I choose to.
For the last three weeks, I’ve not seen my kids and it’s made me narky. Above all, I hate losing. I’ve not lost to a British kid for 12 years now and I definitely won’t be losing to him. I’m technically better, harder to hit, and I’ve really put it in, in the gym. I don’t just want to win, I want to look very good.
He’s my dream opponent; walks forward onto punches, but he’ll stop marching when’s he repeatedly smashed in the head!
Atlantic City, NJ—Light-heavyweight Chuck Mussachio, of Wildwood, NJ, who has been on the fringe of the world rankings in recent years, returns Saturday evening, Feb. 23, at Bally’s Atlantic City, in a scheduled eight-round bout against Lionel Thompson, of Buffalo, NY.
Topping the seven-bout card is a scheduled10-round middleweight contest between Patrick Majewski, of Somers Point, NJ, and Jamaal Davis, of Philadelphia, PA. The show will be streamed live by www.gofightlive.tv .
Mussachio (right), 33, is a full-time guidance counselor at Ocean City (NJ) Primary School and he has boxed only once in each of the last two years. He also works as a bartender once or twice a week at the Concord Café in Avalon, NJ.
Late in 2011 at Bally’s, in a valiant attempt to take the USBA cruiserweight title from Garrett Wilson, of Philadelphia, Mussachio was stopped in the 12th round after leading on two of the three scorecards. He had moved up one weight class for that attempt. He weighed 183 ½ pounds against Wilson, the heaviest of his career.
In his last fight May 19, 2012, also at Bally’s, Mussachio rebounded and scored an eight-round decision over Bill Bailey, of Bakersfield, CA.
A pro since 2005, Mussachio is 18-2-2, 5 K0s. His victims include ex-WBA junior middleweight champ Carl Daniels, of St. Louis; Anthony Ferrante, of Philadelphia; Richard Stewart, of Dover, DE.
As an amateur, Mussachio had over 100 fights and was a two-time NCAA champion at Lock Haven University in Central Pennsylvania. He won the NCAA title at 185 pounds in 2001 and the NCAA title at 175 pounds in 2002. He also trained at the United States Olympic Education Center in Marquette, MI.
Thompson, 27, won his first 12 fights, eight by knockout, before running into some hard luck.
The same night Mussachio beat Bailey in Atlantic City, Thompson (left) was in Pointe-Claire, Quebec, Canada, where he dropped a 10-round split decision to Nicholson Poulard, of Lavel, Quebec, Canada. Scores were 96-94 and 97-93 for Poulard, 97-93 for Thompson.
In his last fight Sept. 21 at the Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem (PA), Thompson was stopped in three rounds by unbeaten Sergey Kovalev, of Chelyabinsk, Russia, in a fight Thompson accepted on three weeks’ notice.
As an amateur, Thompson was a five-time New York State Golden Gloves champion and a two-time Empire State Games gold medalist. He was ranked No. 2 by USA Boxing and was the Eastern Olympic Trials gold medalist in 2008.
Thompson attended Buffalo State College for Health and Wellness.
The Majewski-Davis and Mussachio-Thompson fights top a seven-bout card at Bally’s Atlantic City. First fight is 7.30 pm. Tickets are priced at $50 and $75 and they are on sale at the offices of Peltz Boxing (215-765-0922) and all Ticketmaster outlets (800-745-3000). Tickets also are on sale at www.peltzboxing.com and www.ticketmaster.com . www.gofightlive.tv will stream the card on the internet. The card is being promoted by Peltz Boxing Promotions, Inc., in association with Bally’s Atlantic City.
This coming year, Gary Shaw Productions is scheduled to bring more exciting boxing events to the Chumash Resort Casino in Santa Ynez, Calif. The first show, titled "Central Coast Championship Night" is set for January 25, 2013.
The main event attraction will feature Roman Morales (13-0, 6 KOs) of San Ardo, CA vs. Jose Iniguez (6-14, 1 KO) of Tijuana, Mexico. The 8-round bout will take place in the super-bantamweight division.
"I'm thrilled that I'll be returning to the Chumash Casino Resort to present another great season of boxing shows," said Gary Shaw. "The folks at the Chumash have been great to work with and we plan to stay associated with them for many years."
A serious threat for any top contender in the super-bantamweight division, Roman Morales boasts an undefeated record and is coming of his most impressive victory against former unbeaten foe, Jonathan Arrellano (13-2-1, 3 KOs). His goal for 2013 is to crack the top ten in all sanctioning organizations.
"After a few more wins I see myself fighting many of the top contenders in my division," Morales said. "I'm hoping to get at least five fights in this year and fight for a world title by 2014. I'm ready to take my career to the next level."
Three "Central Coast Championship" bouts will take place with local favorite, Francisco Santana (14-3-1, 7 KOs) of Santa Barbara, CA, taking on Dustin Reinhold (5-3-0, 2 KOs) of Kansas City, MO, in an 8-round co-main event bout in the super-welterweight division.
Followed by Santa Maria native, Ruffino Serrano (13-4) and Tijuana Mexico's Edwin Solis (3-2-1) fighting in a 6-round featherweight bout.
Crowd darling Maria Suarez (2-0-1) of Santa Maria, CA will challenge Torrance California's Abigail Casteneda (3-1-2) in a 4 round bout in the flyweight division.
Rounding out the rest of the fight card will be three 4-round bouts. Miami Florida's Bahamian Olympian, Valentino Knowles (pro debut) vs. Alejandro Ochoa (1-2-1) of Bell Gardens, CA (super-featherweight), Eric Prado (0-2-1) of Santa Maria vs. Victor Manuel Medina (3-3) of Los Angeles, (Middleweights) and Roy Tapia (4-0-1, 2 KOs) of Los Angeles CA vs. Jesus Adame (2-10-1) of San Bernardino, CA (Featherweights).
Tickets priced $35, $45, $55, $70, and $85 are on sale now and can be purchased at the Chumash Casino Box office or online at www.startickets.com . Doors open at 5 P.M, first fight starts at 6 P.M.
New York, NY - On Wednesday, January 23, DiBella Entertainment returns to BB King Blues Club in NYC for the first time in nearly a year with a stellar and thrilling nine-bout card featuring a number of DBE's top up-and-coming prospects, as well as former WBA junior middleweight world champion Yuri Foreman (28-2, 8KO's) making his much anticipated return to the ring after a near two-year hiatus. Foreman is scheduled to take on Brandon Baue (12-8, 10KO's) in a six-round junior middleweight special attraction bout.
Fighting for the second time since joining the DBE roster will be the 25-year-old Lamar "Boxing Que" Russ (11-0, 7KO's). Russ is scheduled to take on Jose Medina (17-11-1, 11KO's) in an eight-round middleweight matchup.
Russ joined the DBE roster late in 2012, and in his first bout under the promotional banner, he scored a first-round annihilation on ShoBox: The New Generation over previously undefeated Jonathan Cepeda (12-0, 11KO's). In his previous bout, Russ scored a fourth-round TKO over yet another undefeated prospect in the 13-0 Jose Alonzo. Russ is looking to kick off what he hopes to be a breakout year with an impressive performance on January 23.
Also seeing action on the card in an eight-round bout will be New Haven's undefeated super bantamweight Luis "K.O. King" Rosa (11-0, 7KO's) as he squares off against Derrick Wilson (9-3-2, 3KO's). A native of Caguas, Puerto Rico, but now living and training in New Haven, CT, Rosa scored a dynamic sixth-round TKO over Victor Valenzuela in his last bout on the HBOBoxing After Dark undercard on September 29, at Foxwoods.
At just 21 years old, the super bantamweight Rosa is truly one of the bright young stars on the DBE roster.
Returning to the site at which he notched the most important victory of his young career will be Brooklyn's undefeated Delen "Sniper" Parsley (9-0, 2KO's), as he looks to improve to 10-0 when he faces Tyrone Selders (8-4, 6KO's) in a six-round middleweight matchup.
On March 7, 2012 Parsley took on fellow unbeaten Boyd Melson. The bout, which could have easily been shown on ESPN or even ShoBox, had people excited about it from the get-go. Few could have predicted what transpired though, as Parsley and Melson went to war, trading multiple knockdowns throughout their eight-round junior middleweight contest. In the end, Parsley was awarded a razor-thin unanimous decision in what was one of the most entertaining and exciting fights ever witnessed throughout Broadway Boxing's eight-year
Making his much anticipated pro debut on the card will be one of the most decorated amateurs to come out of the New York boxing scene in many years, as Long Island's Patrick Day competes against Zach Kelley (1-1, 1KO) in a four-round junior middleweight contest.
Day, the 20-year-old #1-rated 152-pounder in the U.S., compiled an impressive 75-5 record as an amateur. In addition to being a 2012 Olympic Team Alternate, Day won a slew of championships and tournaments as an amateur including the 2012 USA Boxing National Championship, 2012 PAL National Championship and 2012 NY Golden Gloves. Day was also the 2009, 2010 and 2012 USA Metro Boxing Champion, as well as the 2010 and 2011 NY Golden Gloves runner-up. In addition to pursuing his professional boxing career, Day is currently attending college and plans on getting his degree in Sports Nutrition.
Fighting for the first time on a DBE-promoted card will be Bronx knockout artist Skender Halili, as he looks to make it a perfect 8-0 with 8 knockouts, when he squares off against Roberto Crespo (4-2) in a six-round welterweight matchup. The 22-year-old Halili, of Albanian descent, has tremendous power in either hands and has the ability to end any fight with one shot.
Making her third appearance on a DBE-promoted card will be popular Irish female super bantamweight Heather Hardy (3-0), as she looks to keep her perfect record intact when she fights Canada's Peggy Maerz (2-2-1) in a four-round contest. In her previous bouts, Hardy has thrilled audiences with her come-forward aggressive style. Hardy is quickly becoming a major attraction on the N.Y. boxing scene and another exciting bout is expected on January 23.
Also seeing action on the card will be pro-debuting heavyweight Eugene Russell, who will be seeing action in a four-round bout. The NYC-native Russell is set to see action against Granson Clark (1-1, 1KO).
Rounding out the card will be New York's Neuky Santalesis (2-0, 1KO), as he takes on an opponent to be named. The bout is scheduled for four rounds in the junior lightweight division.
There are less then 50 total tickets available for the event, with only a few $125 ringside seats remaining and the majority being the $55 general admission seats. Tickets can be purchased by calling the DiBella Entertainment office at (212) 947-2577. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. with the first bout scheduled for 7:00 p.m.