Gavin stops Welborn to retain British crown

JASON Welborn’s attempt to win the British welterweight title ended in defeat to Frankie Gavin.

The Rowley Regis fighter was stopped in the seventh round in front of a packed crowd at Walsall Town Hall last night.

Welborn, the former Midland champion, had taken an eight count earlier in the same round after a series of shots to the body.

And when a flurry of Gavin punches had the challenger on the ropes again, referee Ian John-Lewis stepped in.

Speaking afterward, a downcast Welborn admitted the better man had won.

He said: “All my training went well but I was just missing my shots after a bit and it was wearing me down.

“I had a lot of pressure on me but I’ll come back, at the end of the day the best man won on the night.”

Some bookmakers had Gavin priced as low as 50-1 on to retain the crown he won from Junior Witter back in November.

Ultimately they were proved correct but Welborn should not feel too disheartened, after a spirited display against a fighter who should eventually challenge for world honours.

On a couple of occasions during a frenetic opening round, Welborn appeared to have the champion rattled when the scraping at close quarters.

But Gavin did not become Britain’s only ever amateur world champion for no reason and eventually his superior speed and movement began to shine through.

The more Welborn tried to catch his opponent, the more visibly frustrated he became as shot after shot fell short, with Gavin able to capitalise on the counter.

By round seven, Welborn looked tired and a series of shots to the body saw him take a knee and an eight count.

Ruthless Gavin sensed victory was near and immediately pounced from the restart. Welborn was able to survive on assault on the ropes but a second proved too much.

Welborn later revealed he had suffered an ear infection in training, which had flared up in the second round.

He said: “I felt it go and that frustrated me more than anything, though it is no excuse.

“I knew what I needed to do from the start. I went for it and burnt myself out a bit. I was just getting caught with silly shots.”

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