World title shot for Gavin 'The Rock' Rees
GAVIN Rees will get the chance to become a two-weight world champion as early as October, the Argus can reveal.
The former light-welterweight king stopped Derry Mathews after nine gruelling rounds on Saturday night in Sheffield to retain his European lightweight title, also adding Mathews’ British strap.
The Newbridge puncher has been promised a world title shot by promoter Eddie Hearn and the Argus understands the hope is to line Rees up for a crack at the vacant WBA title.
Rees was already ranked four in the world by the WBA and with the strap vacant he should now be set to challenge Cuban Richard Abril, rated number one by the WBA and their interim champion. Abril was unlucky to lose last time out to Brandon Rios in an extremely controversial points verdict and as such retained his interim status.
It is believed that Rees will feature as chief support on the next Carl Froch bill, which could be another huge homecoming show in Nottingham against former Joe Calzaghe foe Mikkel Kessler.
Rees can emulate his former stablemate Calzaghe by becoming a two-weight king and believes that with a record of 37 wins from 39 fights (with just one loss) he’s a match for anyone.
“I am ready for that world title shot, I don’t just want to be a world champion again, I want to be a better world champion,” he said.
“My attitude outside of the ring wasn’t good enough before but I am dedicated and focused now.
“I want people to remember me as a champion and I would love the chance to fight Abril.
“He’s a great fighter, but he’s beatable. Everyone is beatable.”
Rees believes he is benefiting from a blend of training styles.
“Everyone knows I spent years with Enzo Calzaghe and I have that relentless style, throwing in clusters,” he said.
“But with Gary (Lockett, Cwmbran trainer) I’ve been working more on the single power shot and the evidence is there that that has improved.”
Rees’ promoters Matchroom admitted they are hopeful of some positive news for Rees soon.
“The way Gavin has been progressing, he’s very worthy of a world title fight and we want to make that happen for him,” Matchroom’s director of boxing John Wischhusen told the Argus.
“Eddie Hearn (promoter) will do his very best and we are looking at around October time.
“I can’t talk about individual options but you are right in saying Gavin is well positioned in the WBA rankings.”
Rees is desperate to return to the ring sooner rather than later.
“I’ve been at home today on my own, my kids are at school and to be honest I am already bored and wish I was in the gym,” he said.
“I’ve grown up a lot and I feel like even though I’m 32 I am the best I have ever been.”