By Paul Mason
It has now been confirmed that Frankie Gavin’s March 24 challenge for the IBO Welterweight Title at the Genting Arena in Birmingham is now off. This not owing to any injuries to either fighter, but to a lack of sponsorship support. This is a major body blow for Gavin, and will disappoint both himself and his fans alike. He was due to take on the Namibian, Bethel Ushona for the belt. The fight was postponed once before, when due to take place last month, due to a foot injury picked up in training by Gavin.
Frankie told of his devastation to the local paper, The Birmingham Mail. “I am absolutely gutted. I’m so, so upset because I’ve worked so hard for so many weeks. I have already had my share of setbacks but this has been the real knockout blow. All I wanted to do was train hard and win this belt for my family”.
“I’ve been living away from my fiancée Emma and the kids for weeks to prepare and now to have the opportunity to win a belt and decent purse snatched away from me has left me devastated.”
Gavin has been recently working hard under Manchester trainer Steve Maylett, who trains the undefeated former WBO Lightweight Champion, Terry Flanagan. Frankie knuckled down for his camp for this fight, spending time away from his family in order to be in the best possible shape come fight night. It remains to be seen the next move for the likeable Brummie, who has had well-documented weight struggles throughout his amateur and professional careers. He has been out of action since last June, a routine stoppage win over journeyman Felix Matamoros in Paisley, Scotland.
If there was a weight class that existed between Super Lightweight and Welterweight, then this would be perfect for Gavin. He seems twixed in between the two, unable to boil down to 10 stone, but not strong enough as he would like at 10 stone 7 Welterweight.
BWI Event Management, the driving force behind the show, were unable to make the figures needed to make the show a financial success. Kevin Baker of BWI had the following to say:
“Unfortunately for Frankie all the hype around his injury and then changing trainer meant there was some uncertainty over whether the fight would ever actually take place as far as major sponsors were concerned.
“The date change also had a knock-on effect on ticket sales. We can understand Frankie’s despair but ultimately putting on a World title fight of this magnitude costs in excess of £60,000 and the figures just don’t stack up.”
They still plan to get Gavin out in the spring, but just what type of significance the fight will hold is a mystery. Gavin has already held the British and Commonwealth Titles at Welterweight, defeating the likes of former WBC Super Lightweight Champion, Junior Witter, as well as David Barnes, Jason Welborn and current British Champion, Bradley Skeete. Time isn’t on his side at 32, but one hopes that he can get back in the Title mix, and at a comfortable weight sooner rather than later.
The show will still go on, with the main event now being Andrew Robinson v Nicky Jenman.