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Long road back for loser of crunch fight, says Gavin.

FRANKIE Gavin, a man whose chipped fighter's features belie the near surgical precision he applies to his craft, burns to get back into the blood and bruises business.

And "Fun Boy" Frankie smoulders with a desire to put the man who claimed the British and Commonwealth welterweight bouts relinquished by Birmingham's biggest ticket-seller firmly in his place.

Like a vanquished monarch, Gavin intends to return and oust "pretender to the throne" Sam Eggington, the no-nonsense, teak-tough battler who grabbed Birmingham bragging rights, when the pair meet on October 27.

Quite simply, the NIA clash is the biggest fight this city has seen for a very long time. Smethwickborn, Stourbridge-based Eggington versus Small Heath sporting star Gavin is the local derby dreams are made of.

The pair's status may have slipped since the superfight was first scheduled - Gavin was halted for the world title, Eggington outfoxed for his domestic crowns last March - but the stakes have never been higher.

As Gavin, now 30, put it: "It's a long road back for the loser."

In reality, there may be no way back. That's what makes October 27, the boxing equivalent of Villa v Blues, a "must see" for every West Midlands fight fan.

The touchpaper has been lit and the boxers are already talking up the mouth-watering encounter.

Ringside spoke to Gavin as he began training for a July 30 Leeds down-the-bill clash designed to shed ring rust.

It's a much-needed outing: the father-of-three has not boxed since last May, his progress blighted by injury and a British Boxing Board of Control suspension.

Spitting out words at machine gun speed and in an accent as thick as Bournville chocolate, Frankie said: "If I bring the best I've got and he brings the best he's got, we all know who's going to win.

"It's about me. If I box to my ability, I honestly believe it will be one sided. All fights are big, but this is massive, it was always going to come. It's a must win, a big road back for the loser. I'm not going to go on about what happens in sparring, but I've sparred with Sam many times and John (Eggington's manager, John Pegg) knows what he saw. He knows who the better boxer is.

"Sam is a nice lad, I'm not going to slag him off. He made the most of his opportunities, but he only got those titles because I gave them up. After the fight I will shake his hand."

Gavin, who will soon open his own gym in Acocks Green, is less complimentary about John Pegg.

Sam is a not going to He made the opportunities, got those I gave Frankie "John's not a silly man, but he says silly things," he snapped. "I don't listen to John. I don't pay attention. John likes his mind-games."

He also gives short shrift to those who question the foot injury that forced the cancellation of last year's showdown between the rivals - "luckily, I'd got the photos of it" - and critics who question his lifestyle outside the ring.

"I know how hard I train," he said. "Have you ever seen me flag in the late stages of a fight? I take no notice of what they say.

"I think I've got five years left in the game. I don't get hit that often and haven't been hurt. I don't know how to do anything else. I'll coach, but boxing is it, really."

Eggington, Frankie maintains, does get hurt and each epic struggle erodes Sam's ring career. "He has wars, even sparring sessions are wars, and he gets marked-up," Gavin said."

There are bare facts to back Gavin's bravado over the Eggington match.

nice lad, I'm slag him off.

He was a far superior amateur, clinching a coveted word title, has mixed in much better class as a pro and, tellingly, outpointed Bradley most of his but he only titles because them up.

Gavin Skeete. Skeete went on to outbox Eggington for the British title.

That's a compelling argument for a Gavin victory. Sam was beaten by someone I beat," said the Birmingham fans' favourite.

"Everybody had me winning against Skeete. I don't think one person thought Sam won against him. Sam struggles against counter-punchers."

Gavin is a noted counterpuncher and southpaw to boot. He intends to set traps against Eggington and bamboozle him with pure ability rather than earn medals for bravery.

"Look who I've boxed - Junior Witter, Denton Vassell when he was on the way up, Leonard Bundu and Kell Brook," he pointed out.

The undeniable downside is Gavin's lack of concussive firepower.

He simply lacked the artillery to earn IBF world champ Kell Brook's respect in their battle last May and was swept aside in six rounds.

To some, that suggested Frankie had found his level.

"I really thought I could win," argued Frankie, "but I showed him too much respect. When I tried to do something it was too far gone. He was massive."

Eggington, honest and brave, is no Kell Brook, but he's determined and powerful.

Fighters have underestimated the Black Country warrior and paid a heavy price.

Gavin insists he won't be among them. "It's been a frustrating year," he added. "We've got a new baby and I need to earn.

"I've got good support in Birmingham. A lot of people have put their necks on the line for me.

"I'll pay them back on October 27."

the fight I

"I

There back

Sam is a nice lad, I'm not going to slag him off. He made the most of his opportunities, but he only got those titles because I gave them up.

Frankie Gavin
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jun 30, 2016
Words:943
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