The main event on Sky Sports 1’s “Saturday Night Fights” for February 19th has changed several times during the past week or two. First it was a rematch from one of the most fun fights British rings has seen in a while, Tony Bellew v Ovill McKenzie II was what was promised. In the first match Bellew got off the canvas in both of the opening 2 rounds before scoring a controversial stoppage over McKenzie in the 8th round. This was cancelled after Bellew suffered a hand injury was and replaced with Frankie Gavin’s fight against Jason Cook being put on as the main event. Since then Cook failed a pre-fight weigh in and that fight was cancelled a few days prior to the event. Gavin, who had a fight cancelled on a key show back in December was at risk of missing out and seeing his career stall once again though now has seen Michael Lomax step in to save the day.
Gavin, 25 from Birmingham, has had a frustrating few years. Tipped as one of the favourite to win gold at the Olympics he failed to make the weight and was pulled out of the tournament, though rumours of questionable behaviour have been blamed Gavin’s professional career has also been stop start. He’s had fights cancelled and whilst on paper one of Britain’s best ever amateurs (the only Brit to win a Gold at the World Amateur Championships) he has been over-shadowed by James DeGale in a big way. A skilled all rounder with the technical skills to go a long way in the sport needs to take his anger out on Lomax and not let frustrations get the better of him. Gavin can genuinely do it all, he can move, he can bang, he can brawl and he can box beautifully, though if 2011 doesn’t see him getting some breaks you can understand him living upto his “Funtime” nickname.
Against Lomax, Gavin is facing a fighter with more professional experience, a 2” height advantage and natural weight advantage (Lomax is a natural Welterweight, Gavin a Light Welterweight) though not a fighter who should pose too much of a risk. Lomax lacks the power to really force Gavin on the back foot (Lomax has scored just 2 stoppages in his 17 wins) and shouldn’t have the boxing skill to genuinely trouble Gavin. Though what the fight should prove to be is a fantastic test for Gavin mentally and physically. It’s a fight that should go longer than Gavin’s longest bout to date (6 completed round against Peter McDonagh) as Lomax is durable (stopped only once by the world ranked Kell Brook). As well as testing his stamina it’ll also help us see what a 5 month lay off, 5 months of pent up frustration, will have done to Gavin, who can be a bit of a hot head at times and may get in trying to blow away Lomax.
A loss for Gavin would really be a giant upset (the Bookies make Gavin around a 1/10 odds on favourite) whilst Lomax (a 13/2 outsider) would make a giant name for himself with a career best win.
With 8 fights since turning professional with Frank Warren, Gavin will be looking for 2011 to start well, expect him to start cautiously, shaking off ring rust and using his superior boxing ability to control the fight. When he’s shaken off the rust he’ll really run away with it either taking a very wide decision or force a late stoppage against an outclassed Lomax.