Home Boxing News Rees weathers the storm to claim the European title

Rees weathers the storm to claim the European title

Gavin Rees claimed the vacant EBU lightweight title as he beat the undefeated Irish boxer Andy Murray at the Motorpoint Arena in Cardiff via a unanimous decision.

Gavin Rees had been out of action for seven months. Rees beat John Watson in Newport in November to win the British lightweight title. Rees beat Watson via 11th round technical knockout victory. Rees vacated the British lightweight title because he needed surgery on his nose and was unable to face Watson in a rematch.

The last time Andy Murray fought was against Graeme Higginson at the M.E.N Arena in Manchester on the undercard of the world title fight between Amir Khan and Paul McCloskey in April. Murray beat Higginson on points.

The greatest achievement in the boxing career of Gavin Rees took place in at this venue. It was at this venue that Rees claimed WBA World light welterweight title by defeating Souleymane M’baye back in 2007. It was in this same venue that Rees lost his world title to Andriy Kotelnik in his first defence of the title. The fight against Andy Murray was the first time Gavin Rees had fought in Cardiff since that lost to Kotelnik.

The crowd was made up of a considerable number of Andy Murray fans that had made the trip to Cardiff from Ireland. The Irish section of the crowd was in good voice throughout the night. The Welsh section of the crowd responded in good voice too. The two fights that topped the bill saw Welsh boxers face Irish boxers and this proved to be beneficial to the atmosphere in Cardiff. The decibel level in the arena rose even further when “Delilah” by Tom Jones was played as the Welsh and Irish crowd sang along.

Andy Murray entered the ring first. Murray came out to “By the Way” by the Red Hot Chilli Peppers. Murray looked focused as he entered the ring. Gavin ‘the Rock’ Rees entered the ring with “Stop the Rock” by Apollo 440. Rees was looking confident as walked to the ring.

Andy Murray is called the ‘Quiet Man’ and for the first half of the fight he was quiet. Rees dominated the fight up until round 8. Murray was clearly the taller fighter but he was unable to use his size to his advantage in the fight. Rees was effective from the start as he established himself early on. The first round set the tempo for the first half of the fight. Murray was throwing more punches than Rees early in the fight but Rees was finding it easy to evade them. Rees was landing a greater number of punches despite throwing fewer punches than Murray. Rees was able to effectively hit Murray with quick sharp counters. The speed and movement Rees was showing proved to be the difference between the fighters.

In round 2 Rees was looking more comfortable. Rees used his jab to settle himself in this fight. Murray struggled to find range and his jab was almost nonexistent. Murray appears to be very slow in comparison to Rees. Rees was able to pick off Murray with relative ease. Round 3 saw Rees remain in charge of the fight. The speed Rees is showing in these early rounds is overwhelming Murray. When Murray is making the first move Rees is able to counter. Murray was simply too slow to make an impression on this fight in the opening rounds. Murray was throwing too many single punches and in contrast Rees was effectively throwing a number of punches to the head and body.

The frustration Murray is feeling in this fight is demonstrated in round 4. Rees had his back turned to Murray and he punched Rees in the back. This is met by boos from the crowd. The fight is a complete nightmare early on for Murray as he appeared to be out of depth against the more experienced Welshman.

The Murray corner for the first time in the fight show real concern about their boxer in round 5. The Murray corner becomes more animated. They can see the fight slipping away from their boxer. Murray comes out better but the Rees jab is once again very effective. There appears to be a gulf in class between these boxers. Rees remains dominant in this fight. Rees continues to outland Murray.

Round 6 and 7 belong to Rees. If the fight continued like this then it would be a complete shut out with Murray failing to win a single round. Murray continues to be ineffective against Rees and the fight seems to be matter of how Rees will win this fight and not a matter of if Rees will win it. Rees is toying with Murray now. Rees has his hands down by his side and is taunting Murray. Rees is treating Murray with utter contempt. Rees is barely missing when he throw his punches. Rees looks like he could take Murray out early. Rees is landing combinations with some force and Murray appeared worn down and shaken. Rees is less effective in the 7th round and is unable to land as many punches as he did the previous round.
The complete dominance by Rees in this fight means that Murray needs to do something drastic to turn this fight around. The 8th round begins and there is a glimmer of hope for the Murray fans and the Murray corner as they sense Rees is starting to feel the pace. Rees starts to become less active as the fight goes on. Murray is being told that Rees is tired and this will be much needed inspiration for the Irishman who was not in contention for the first 7 rounds. Round 8 becomes the first round that you could score for Murray. Round 8 is a defining round in this fight as momentum has shifted from Rees to Murray

In round 9 Rees is deducted a point by the referee for excessive holding. Rees was clearly exhausted and this was acknowledged by the crowd. For the first time in this fight there is some doubt amongst the Welsh crowd. The Irish in the crowd believed their man could now go on to win this fight. Round 9 to round 11 the fight was all about Rees trying to survive the onslaught by Murray. The Irish fans were on their feet trying to encourage Murray.. In round 10 there was a delay in the fight as one of the gloves Murray wore became loose. This delay was a much welcomed break for Rees as he looked to compose himself for the end of the fight. Rees demonstrated his experience in the later rounds despite showing extreme signs of fatigue. Rees was able to spoil the fight and looked to tie up Murray as often as he could. Rees looked to get as close as possible to Murray. Murray needed to keep Rees at range but Murray struggled to get away from Rees. When Rees was throwing punches in these rounds they were wild. The speed and effective jab Rees had shown in the earlier rounds had now vanished. Rees was just looking to survive.

Murray needed to dominate the final round and score a knockdown to complete and incredible comeback. Rees was able to assert himself in the final round landing some nice clean shots on Murray. Rees was able to hold in the final round whilst doing enough to win the round. The bell rang to close the fight and Rees was a relieved man. Rees raised his arms in victory and the Welsh members of the crowd cheered.
The judges scored it 115-112, 115-112, 116-112, all in favour of Gavin Rees who claimed the vacant European lightweight title.
Gavin Rees improves to 34(16)-1(1)–0.
Andy Murray falls to 24(12)-1-0


Rees found it easy in the opening half of the fight with Rees able to land almost at will. Murray struggled with the pace Rees set. Further into the fight it appeared that Rees was struggling in the fight because of the pace he had set earlier in the fight. Rees held a comfortable lead in the fight but from round 8 onwards Rees tired dramatically but was Rees able to weather the storm and become the new European lightweight holder.

Gavin Rees with Gary Lockett in his corner will be able to take positives and negatives from this fight and will aim to improve ready for the next fight. The first half of the fight would have been extremely pleasing to the eye of Lockett when his fighter dominated and looked good in doing it. The fight has raised questions about stamina because Rees faded in the later rounds and that will be addressed by Lockett.

Gavin Rees has been a professional fighter since 1998, “The Rock” has won the WBO Intercontinental featherweight, WBA light-welterweight, Prizefighter light-welterweight and British lightweight titles. Rees can now add the EBU lightweight title to the list of his illustrious career. Rees stated before the fight that his aim is to compete at world level again. Rees wants to become a two weight world champion. With the winner of the Kevin Mitchell and John Murray fight getting a world title shot he will aim to fight the winner of that contest.

Undercard
Carl Frampton UD 10 Robbie Turley (Super-Bantamweight)
Highly rated Carl Frampton retained his Celtic Super-Bantamweight title as he came through a hard fought point decision victory against Robbie Turley.
Turley proved to be more testing for Frampton than Frampton or McGuigan imagined. Frampton sustained a cut above his right eye in the fight. Carl Frampton won clearly on the judges’ scorecards despite the brave effort by Turley. Frampton recorded a knockdown against Turley in the seventh despite Turley protesting that it was a slip.
This fight that was a British title eliminator and Frampton will now be focusing on that despite being disappointed with his display in Cardiff.

Jason Cook PT 6 Mounir Guebbas (Welterweight)

Steve Williams PTS 6 Araik Sachbazjan (Light-Welterweight)

Tony Dodson PTS 4 Jamie Ambler (Light-Heavyweight)

Frankie Borg TKO2 Costas Osben (Middleweight)

Eamonn O’Kane TKO1 Joe Jones (Middleweight)

Jeff Evans PTS 4 Dean Walker (Super-Middleweight)

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