Talent isn’t everything, but it helps you when push comes to shove—instead of grinding it out you can drop moves as fluidly as ink falling from a pen onto paper.
Birmingham’s Frankie Gavin has talent to burn yet it is calories he struggles with; the 31-year-old failed to make weight for his derby encounter with Sam Eggington—scaling 10st 9lbs 11oz to his rival’s 10st 6lbs 5oz—and was drinking at the Last Chance Saloon going in.
The ignominy of failing to drop the poundage required to ensure he vied for the vacant WBC International welterweight title was compounded by a knockdown in round three, a straight right hand dumping Gavin to the seat of his pants.
However, Gavin is a fighter, often throwing obstacles in his own path only to eke his way past them using his latent talent. The former British and Commonwealth Champion snuck and struck his way back into the fight in round four, his shots reddening the bridge of Eggington’s nose.
The fight exploded into life again in the sixth, Eggington pinned Gavin to the ropes only for Gavin to throw timely counters to fight his way back into the contest. Undeterred, Eggington bludgeoned his way through, hammering Gavin into the ropes with a body shot, which forced referee Victor Loughlin to call a standing count as only the ropes had kept Gavin up.
The former amateur star rose, and on it went, both men firing home shots until the bell sounded on a titanic sixth stanza.
Remarkably, Gavin boxed well in the seventh, but Eggington, 23, had found the key and kept sinking in cruel, hurtful body blows on his foe in a much better fight than anyone had expected to see when tuning in on Sky Sports.
Eggington gave Bradley Skeete too much space and time when losing his British and Commonwealth titles in March of this year. Lessons learned, he didn’t give Gavin a minute late in the eighth, hammering home body blows to stop Gavin with 18 seconds left in the round.
There was a beautiful artistry to Eggington’s determined attacks. Gavin slipped shots early to set up his own moves, but could not hold back the ever encroaching sea of shots coming his way.
“I’m over the moon, me and Frankie had a bit of needle, but it’s fine again now—it’s boxing,” said Eggington (19-3, 11 KOs) when speaking to Sky Sports.
“These people are skilled boxers. I keep saying to [trainer] Jon Pegg to get a fight where I can stand there and fight—credit to Frankie, I didn’t think he had it in him like that.”
“I heard I was up on the scorecards and would do it again,” added Gavin (23-3, 14 early).
“Frankie showed so much heart and Sam fought like he always does, (it was) contender for fight of the year and I’d love to see it again,” said Eddie Hearn, who promoted the Birmingham Barclaycard Arena show.