12:54am Sunday 22nd December 2013
By Michael Pearlman
BRADLEY Pryce's attempt to upset the odds in Leeds ended in failure against top British prospect Frankie Gavin last night.
The 32-year old Newbridge fighter, who is now 34-16 in a career record that perhaps doesn't reflect his talent in the ring, was largely outclassed by Gavin who advanced to 18-0 since springing to stardom courtesy of the Olympic Games.
However, Pryce, who has only won three of his last 11 fights, is unquestionably proving his credentials as an exceptionally reliable fighter to provide a stern test for prospects.
Pryce had barely 24 hours to prepare for Gavin, the British and Commonwealth welterweight champion, who many are tipping for world title honours in 2014 and under the circumstances, he performed admirably.
Although Gavin won the first eight sessions of this ten-rounder - Pryce didn't have time to make the weight at such late notice so no titles were on the line - he rarely if at all looked like being stopped or even hurt.
Pryce actually landed the most powerful shot of the contest in the ninth round and earned a share of it, as well as shading the final session, to lose 99-92 on the referee's card.
Gavin's promoter Frank Warren revealed he is keen to pair the Birmingham fighter with Amir Khan next year if the opportunity arises after this intended Commonwealth title defence was hampered by work permit issues.
For Pryce, who has impressed in defeat against Gavin and Sergey Rabchenko in his last two outings, 2014 will likely be as busy as he requires.
Because while his spell as a top level competitor may be concluded, Pryce can still provide a good barometer at domestic level.
It was also a disappointing night for Blackwood's Hari Miles who was beaten in Spain.
Miles, another who took a Christmas pay day at late notice, headed to Elche to face the French-based Youri Kayembre Kalenga.
Miles had just seven days preparation for the contest but was stopped in round eight.
His trainer, Darren Williams, tweeted: "Hari lost ninth (sic) round, I thought he was winning the fight but at one week's notice and losing a stone and a half... he tired in late rounds but did everyone proud."
Tonypandy puncher Lewis Rees, 24, did give Wales a victory on Saturday, beating Krzysztof Szot in a welterweight contest on the bill in Leeds that Pryce featured on.
Rees, trained by Cwmbran's former world title contender Gary Lockett, who all eight sessions on the referee's card to move to 9-0.
In the main event of the evening, Darlington's Stuart Hall won the vacant IBF world bantamweight title in a thrilling contest with Vusi Malinga.
The 33-year old, who only turned professional five years ago, dominated from the start and landed a big knockdown in the third round.
However, the South African came back into things and cut Hall's eye badly, leading to real drama in the final rounds as Hall looked to maintain his points advantage with his left eye swollen shut.
He did so, winning unanimously on the judges' cards 116-11, 117-110, 117-110 in a performance of incredible fortitude.
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