GIVE Frankie Gavin six weeks and he’ll fight anybody. Yes, anybody. That’s the message he wants to send; the message he needs to send.
He’s 32 years of age now, without a promoter, without a full-time trainer, and could do with an opportunity. Not desperate exactly, but hungry, for sure. The amateur exploits, the World Championships gold medal, were a long time ago. More than a decade ago, in fact.
Recently, Gavin was offered the chance to box Josh Kelly in Cardiff on March 31. It was the sort of opportunity he’s after; the sort of opponent he wants. But an alternative date in June, somewhere in Newcastle, is more to his liking.
“I had a little chat with Eddie (Hearn, promoter) and he mentioned March 31 and a fight against Josh Kelly,” Gavin tells Boxing News. “But against someone of his skill level – given how good he is – that was too early really.
“They then mentioned June and told me what I could expect financially and I more or less jumped at it and agreed it straight away. He’s fighting Carlos Molina now on March 31 and, if he wins that, hopefully I’ll be next for him. Hopefully I’ll be the one who gets the opportunity.
“Some people look at me and think I’m past it, but other people, the people who see me in the gym, know I still have a lot to offer. If Josh Kelly and Adam Booth [Kelly’s coach] fancy it, this is a great opportunity for them really. Maybe they think I’m not the fighter I was. I think I am still that fighter. This would be my chance to prove it. Josh Kelly is a good name for me as well. If I beat him, I’m back where I need to be.”
One of the rising stars of British boxing, Kelly, currently 5-0 (4), meets Molina, a former IBF super-welterweight champion, on the undercard of Anthony Joshua’s heavyweight title unification clash with Joseph Parker. It’s a considerable test for Kelly, on paper at least, but is one Gavin expects him to ace with little difficulty.
“I can’t fault him,” says Gavin, a former British and Commonwealth welterweight champion who also challenged for European and world honours. “He’s done really well.
“Molina, though, is well past it now. I never really did rate him, to be fair. He’s just been beaten by the French kid [Ahmed El Mousaoui]. They’ve done very well to get him at this stage in his career and I’m sure Kelly will go out and make a statement against him. If he wins, and then wants to fight me in Newcastle in June, I’ll be straight up for it.”
Gavin, 25-3, has fought just twice since playing his part in a classic with Sam Eggington in October 2016. He outpointed Renald Garrido last May and then stopped Felix Matamoros less than a month later. Since then, nothing. He saw an ill-fated IBO welterweight title fight against Bethuel Ushona collapse – once because of an injury, and then because a sponsor pulled out – and is now, as a consequence, a fighter without a fight date, just as he’s a fighter without a team.
“I’ll fight anyone,” he says. “I’m still ranked high. I’m two in Britain – behind Bradley Skeete, who I’ve beaten – and top four in Europe.
“I’m willing to sign with people. I’ve realised now that being self-managed and self-promoted isn’t working for me. I want to get with someone and go on a run before it’s too late.”