‘Funtime’ Frankie Gavin says he will step up to the plate in his next two fights to secure a major title shot as he returns to action on the undercard of Kell Brook’s IBF World Welterweight title defence in ‘Unbreakable’ presented by FX World on Saturday (March 28) live in Sky Sports in the UK and on SHOWTIME in the US.
Gavin meets Bogdan Mitic over ten rounds before a huge night on May 9 where he headlines at the Barclaycard Arena in his hometown of Birmingham in a crunch IBF International Welterweight title clash with South African Chris van Heerden.
A pair of victories would put Gavin firmly on the path for a major title shot later in the year, but the Birmingham favourite knows his clash with ‘The Heat’ in May is a stern test of his lofty ambitions.
“I am in a very tough fight against Van Heerden in Birmingham, but I will have the home crowd behind me and a lot of support,” said Gavin. “I have been in big fights before with the likes of Bundu and Denton Vassell so I know what to expect on these big occasions. I need to go out there and grab the chance with both hands. It will be the first time I have headlined in Birmingham, so it is going to be great for me.
“If I win on Sheffield and then in Birmingham, I want to fight the winner of Paulie Malignaggi vs. Gianluca Branco for the European title or a final eliminator, and then Brook before the year is out.”
The 29 year old ended 2014 with a pair of wins following his brave performance in defeat to Bundu for the European and Commonwealth straps in August. Gavin landed a stoppage win inside two rounds against Hungarian Mate Hornyak in October and then defended his British title and regained the vacant Commonwealth belt against Bradley Skeete. Saturday is his first fight under new promoter Hearn, and Gavin says that the shackles will come off after feeling frustrated with the Skeete fight despite the win.
“I never, ever felt in danger in the Skeete fight,” said Gavin. “He was so negative it was a joke really, it was like he had come just to go the distance. I tried to make a fight but nothing was really happening, he just kept moving and moving, for some reason he didn’t want to fight. You can’t go into a fight as a challenger and try and steal a fight, you have to win a fight and there is no way he did that.
“It changed my game plan a lot. My plan was to go forward but I expected him to engage a lot more than he did but he just threw the odd punch and ran. It was like he was in awe or scared. A lot of people didn’t complain about how boring it was, but I felt bored in there. I was trying to make something happen but every time I did he would hold or run. The amount of times he was holding and the ref didn’t say anything, I thought was a bit of a joke. But it is done now, I got the win and held onto my British title and won the Commonwealth again.
“After the Bundu fight it was very important to get the win. I fought a Hungarian between Bundu and Skeete and stopped him in two. It was meant to be a confidence booster before Skeete but I didn’t need a confidence booster because I knew there were levels between Bundu and Skeete.
“Against Bundu, it was more that I threw it away from sitting on the ropes. Everything he landed I gave him by staying on the ropes. I still think I won the fight but it could have gone either way, and the knockdown maybe swayed it. I know I can mix it at that level so if I get put in another fight like that, or even with Bundu again, I would be very confident of coming away with the win.”
Brook and Gavin’s bouts are part of a huge night of boxing in Sheffield as local favourite Adam Etches defends his IBF International Middleweight title against Sergey Khomitsky and Gavin McDonnell continues his fairy tale story challenging Ukrainian Oleksandr Yegorov for the vacant European Super Bantamweight title.
Stephen Smith is back in action as he closes in on a World title clash, Kal Yafai continues his march towards a World title shot of his own and GB Podium squad member Charlie Edwards fights for the second time in the paid ranks on the bill.
Limited tickets for ‘Unbreakable’ presented by FX World are on sale priced £40, £60, £80, £100 and £150 available from the Motorpoint Arena on 0114 2565656 and atwww.motorpointarenasheffield.co.uk. VIP tickets at £250 are exclusively available from Matchroom Boxing atwww.matchroomboxing.com