BACK IN FEBRUARY 2021 the career of Gavin Gwynne was turned on its head in a spectacular fashion. Knocking on three years later the Welshman is set to fight for the European lightweight title on Friday night at York Hall, live on TNT Sports.
Gwynne, along with fellow headliner Sam Noakes and the rest of the card, convened in London this afternoon for a media conference ahead of the weigh-in on Thursday.
The big turning point arrived during the gloomy days of lockdown with sport taking place behind closed doors and Gwynne ventured north to Bolton as the away fighter to compete for the Commonwealth title against the highly-rated Irishman Sean McComb.
It was probably considered that defeating Gwynne would represent a solid win for the then 11-0 favorite McComb, with the B-side of the coin having recently suffered defeats to Joe Cordina and James Tennyson when he stepped up the levels.
However, the now 33-year-old disregarded the form guide and forced McComb into an early seventh round retirement.
Gwynne admits himself that he couldn’t have foreseen his upturn in fortunes ahead of his Bolton triumph.
“No I couldn’t, to be honest with you,” said the man from Merthyr. “During lockdown I never thought boxing and things were going to come back, but I turned my career around in lockdown by beating an unbeaten, tricky southpaw in Sean McComb and stopping him in good style as well.
“So I couldn’t have imagined it three years ago, no.”
When it comes to the question of what prompted his career taking a turn for the better, Gwynne’s response could go some way towards explaining why there were so many away fighters who upset the odds across the Covid period.
Part-time boxers found themselves training like full-time athletes.
“My losses have been at world level and not British level, so I think it was just having 50-50 fights, sort of thing and obviously confidence in myself and my ability.
“Being full-time as well made a hell of a difference. Obviously, during lockdown, I couldn’t work at the time and I was just training constantly.”
Three wins and a draw later, with a British title belt having found a home in Merthyr for the first time since Johnny Owen was champion, Gwynne is able to ponder the prospect of broadening his ambitions.
“Yeah, 100%, winning this fight on Friday will have me pushing on to world level and I have already fought a world champion in Joe Cordina. I thought I boxed very well in that fight, only losing by three of four rounds according to the judges and he is a world class fighter.
“I am confident I can compete at world level,” he added, before revealing that he didn’t consider himself consigned to a career of domestic away assignments following his two defeats. He is now a fully signed up Queensberry fighter who believes his star will continue to rise.
“Not really because I’ve always had that belief in myself and I knew the opposition I was going in against. I travelled all around the world to work with world class fighters and always gave a good account of myself, so I have always had the belief.
“It is a massive career move for myself. It is a bit of security knowing I am with Frank for two years and I know he will keep me busy because I am always in good fights.
“Being the Merthyr Mexican, that is the way I fight, I am just ruthless when I jump in there and I can’t wait to let my hands go on Friday.”
The job in hand tonight comes against the undefeated veteran Emiliano Marsili with the vacant EBU belt at stake. Gywnne strongly suspects he will be too much, too late for the Italian southpaw.
“He is 47 and 42-0. He is kicking on now and, to be honest with you, I could have beaten him in his prime. Him being 47 is not going to help his case on Friday night when I start letting my hands go and he is not doing any damage to me.
“I think the size of me will be a massive factor as well because I am a welterweight, really. He is a featherweight coming up so I think this will play a part.
“I’ve got to try and do better than Liam Williams last week now. I don’t punch like Liam but you know what you are going to get with me, I’m going to be throwing 300-400 punches a round. I don’t care what I get hit with and he doesn’t have the power to keep me off him. I know that for a fact.
“As soon as he sets his feet, that’s game over for him.”