Gavin Rees

Gavin Rees impressively stopped Liverpool’s John Watson on Saturday night claiming the vacant British lightweight title before his home fan’s in Newport.

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The former WBA light-welterweight champion was just too experienced and powerful for Watson and after a good start to the fight from the Welshman, before having a few rocky rounds himself, he finished the contest in the 11th round after dropping Watson in the 10th.
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It was a fantastic performance from the revitalised Newbridge boxer Rees, who held the world title world in 2008, and recently won the Prizefighter trophy, he as lost just one of his 35 professional bouts, against Ukrainian Andrea Kotelnik, but Rees says he wasn’t prepared for that fight, when he lost the world title.
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Rees was certainly up for this British title fight and looked strong at the light-welterweight limit. In what turned out to be a very good fight, Rees started off the fight in total command, out-punching and even out-jabbing the taller Watson building up a tidy lead, winning the first half of the fight.

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Watson just couldn’t get to grips with Ress’ speed and quickness of punch and while he was loading up and thinking of throwing his shots, the Welshman was in and out and dropping in some meaty right hands, as he used his smaller size to his advantage dipping low and throwing shots from angles Watson couldn’t anticipate.
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Rees nose was cut early on and it looked like it was giving him breathing problems and in the sixth round it looked as though Watson, the electrician from Liverpool had finally woken up and sussed out a way to fight Rees, as he started to find his range, standing is ground as he started to grab hold of the fight himself.
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By the end of the seventh it looked as if Watson had taken Rees best shots and was going to come on strong, Rees was looking tired and at the end of the round, Watson raised a glove towards his travelling supporters as if to signal ‘Im back in the fight’ and he was!

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The tide of the fight had changed and Rees was looking tired now. Watson, concentrating and keeping his composure, began to hurt Rees with good accurate punches and body shots which seemed to be slowing him down and had Rees holding on.
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By the tenth round it was a really hard grueling fight for the Lonsdale belt and it was a case now of who wanted to get their hands on the British crown more. We didn’t have to wait long to find that out when Rees, who at times looked like he could have took a knee himself, connected with a chopping right hand as Watson leaned in, and over he went.
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Watson rose to his feet and as the referee waved fight on Rees stormed in for the finish, backing Watson up to the ropes, punching away trying to find the finishing shot, as Watson covered up and tried to regain his senses. The bell sounded and saved Watson, but he looked shaken and on unsteady legs as he returned to his corner.
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Rees now knew he could hurt Watson and in the eleventh didn’t hang around in finish the job and as Watson called him in, Rees obliged and a barrage of punches trapped Watson on the ropes and referee Victor Loughlin stepped in to stop the fight to Watson objections and Rees’ delight.
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“It means everything, but it took everything out of me that fight,” Rees told Sky Sports. “I won the first five rounds but he came back and believe me I was getting hurt.
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“I thought I was going to be taken out there at one point but I got my second wind. I’ve got to say what a great fighter John Watson is.”
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The gallant loser admitted his slow start cost him in the end.
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“It took me four or five rounds to get going, I just couldn’t get any rhythm,” he said. “Then I think I won the next five and evened it up on the scorecard.
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“But fair to him, he caught me with a good shot, I thought I was ok to carry on but the referee’s finished it.”
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The Undercard.

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Jason Cook 35, the former European lightweight champion, proved he still as a future in the game with a impressive sixth-round stoppage of fellow countryman and southpaw slickster Barrie Jones to claim the vacant Welsh light-welterweight championship.
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Pryce, who made six defences of the Commonwealth light-middleweight belt, outpointed Michael Lomax in a make-or-break eight rounder. Pryce won it 79-75.
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Patrick Mendy, crowned king of the ‘Prizefighter’ super-middleweights in June, was a 39-37 points win over always-game Jamie Ambler.
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Manchester prospect Karl Place dominated Billy Smith over four rounds to make it 10 straight wins. 
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EU middleweight champion Grzegorz Proksa KO’d Ghanaian Theophilius Tetteh in the fifth round.
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Jeff Evans fought to a 39-39 draw with Gary Bouldenin what was a very good competitive match-up and will look to do it again in a rematch.

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By Chris Maylett

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