Everyone loves Frankie Gavin, but he has let himself down massively by failing to make weight for his crunch fight against fellow Birmingham man Sam Eggington. I’ve always made excuses for Frankie in the past, not this time, though, because it’s become too much.
But I still think he will have too much for Sam, Frankie is just the better all-round fighter—that’s the difference. Knowing he can beat this kid in first and second gear could have made Frankie ease off in training a little bit, leading to him missing the weight.
What I will say to Frankie is that if this kid is still there after eight rounds then he could be in trouble, because Sam will keep coming and coming as long as he is still in the fight. Frankie knows that he is far better technically and more skilled, but in those late rounds the technical ability goes out the window. Trust me, by rounds 10, 11 and 12 it is about pure strength and determination—and Frankie could realise that tonight.
I just hope that he hasn’t underestimated Sam, and it looks that way from what he’s done on the scales. I hope not, though.
Frankie isn’t getting any younger, he has to live the life. I’m not saying anything here that I haven’t said to Frankie, he knows my stance on things. Frankie is a far better fighter than I am yet he understands that I got to where I am by sheer hard work, I live it. This isn’t as hobby or a game to me and it’s not just a sport, either—it is a way of life.
I’m disappointed to see him in the situation he is in, it is so, so frustrating. Frankie is one of the best technical boxers in the country, he is so technically gifted yet it can’t just all be about that ability and prowess. It comes down to how much you want it, how much you’ll live it—that’s what you have to ask yourself when you decide where you go on from here, Frankie.
I’ll be honest, it pisses me off a little bit when fighters don’t make weight as it shows a lack of professionalism. Even at cruiserweight, I’m coming down in weight in camp from 16 stone, so I do have to drop weight and do it professionally. I won’t lie, it is not nice going without the nice things in life for three-months at a time, but it is all about being professional. What Frankie’s done is frowned upon by me, I think other professionals will feel the same way too.
‘If Frankie wins tonight, I’d sit him down and say one thing to him: “Take yourself away from Birmingham and live the f*cking life.” That’s it in a nutshell. The only way I can say it.’
People are talking this one up as a bull against a matador, I don’t think it just comes down to that. Sam can’t do what he did against Bradley Skeete, where he tried to stand off, so he will have to press the action and set a high pace to see if he can hurt Frankie. I don’t think he can, but never say never with those eight ounce gloves on.
I see where people are coming from, I just don’t see Frankie running, he will stand his ground a bit. Sam will feel Frankie’s punches, by the midway point his face could be an absolute mess. Sam takes an awful lot on the way in and isn’t a big one-punch puncher himself.
It will be an exciting fight. Ultimately, I think that Frankie will stand his ground to show his class and show people what he can do.
If Frankie wins tonight, I’d sit him down and say one thing to him: “Take yourself away from Birmingham and live the f*cking life,”—that’s it in a nutshell. The only way I can say it. Frankie has all the ability in the world and can call on a great nutritionist in Kerry Kayes.
No matter how much I struggled, I always made the weight at 175 and that is down to the great advice I get from Kerry. When we speak, I do exactly what he says, Frankie must do the same in future. We’ll see what happens going forward, but he has to be on it in future.
‘”Pricey” has had his ups and downs, but people forget that his only losses have come against drug cheats, and the fact that those defeats are still on his record disgusts and annoys me. Fingers crossed he gets the chance to go out there and do what he does best, and that’s fight, win by knockout and look good in the process.’
I’d love to see my mate David Price get a few more fights in first yet if he is offered a shot against Anthony Joshua I’d take it, that’s beyond a shadow of a doubt. It is heavyweight boxing, so it doesn’t matter how many more fights or rounds you get because it takes one punch to turn a career around. That’s all it takes, one shot and it’s over. Don’t forget, David hits harder than any heavyweight on the planet.
If he gets his opportunity then I’ll back him, just as I’ve always backed him. He’s the closest friend I have in this trade besides my coach Dave Coldwell, he is someone I will always be there for. If I could pick someone to be a world champion it would be him.
“Pricey” has had his ups and downs, but people forget that his only losses have come against drug cheats, and the fact that those defeats are still on his record disgusts and annoys me. Fingers crossed he gets the chance to go out there and do what he does best, and that’s fight, win by knockout and look good in the process.
People underestimate the mental strength of David, to come back from what he’s come back from is massive. He’s a confident lad who is in the best shape of his career since joining Dave. I’m very lucky that I found Dave when I did, as he’s added so much to my game—people can see that every time I step into the ring.
If the call comes answer it. Take it on and go for it. If he hits Joshua with a clean right hand or left hook he’ll take him out, if Joshua hits David flush then he’ll go down. It’s similar to the division I am in, we’re small heavyweights and if you get hit clean you’re going down, it is what it is.
‘Heavyweight boxing needs Tyson Fury, look at how he has shaken the division up. He is a huge character, one of the biggest in the sport, so I’d like to see him back. First and foremost, though, I want him to get healthy again, which could take time, so let’s give him the time he needs.’
I’ve had some banter with Tyson Fury in the past, everyone knows that, but I’ve spent a lot of time with his uncle Peter, and I’ve been around Tyson and his dad, John, so I know the family well.
I think the world of Peter in particular, he’s a good man, and I like Tyson too, but I won’t come out and condone the use of recreational drugs in boxing, if that is proven to the case. What I won’t do is place him in the same bracket as those who take performance enhancing drugs, if anything the recreational drugs don’t help you, they contribute to your downfall.
Tyson is getting a lot of abuse, but it is clear to me that he is in a bad way, so people shouldn’t brush the mental health issue aside. Mental health is a big part of this game, sport, whatever you want to call it. It is a battle you face in your everyday life so I just pray that he comes out the other side and wish him and his family the best.
Secondly, heavyweight boxing needs Tyson Fury, look at how he has shaken the division up. He is a huge character, one of the biggest in the sport, so I’d like to see him back. First and foremost, though, I want him to get healthy again, which could take time, so let’s give him the time he needs.
Don’t forget, I know what it’s like to get to the top of the mountain. It is very hard once you’ve reached your dream and Tyson got to the very top by beating Wlad Klitschko last year. You have to have the desire to get yourself back up there once you’ve scaled that peak.
My frame of mind might be different than his yet I understand how it feels to experience a defining moment in your career. My win over Ilunga Makabu at Goodison Park in May is still going strong in my mind, but I had to raise myself for my first defence against BJ Flores last week.
Tyson knows how it feels to hit that moment in your career and I honestly think that he is thinking: ‘Why carry on fighting?’—ultimately, we need to get him healthy and get him back. People are talking about it taking a year, but he is a professional fighter so he will stay in some kind of shape.
It’s only been a few weeks yet he already looks to be in a far better mental place than he was a month ago. It is going to take a bit of time, he’ll also need the right help. If he gets it, I truly believe that he can get better and go on from there.
More from Tony Bellew coming soon. Follow The Bomber on Twitter: @TonyBellew
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