Boxing: ‘Funtime’ Frankie can upset the odds in Bilbao

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BOXING writer George Storr (@george_storr1) shares his thoughts on Frankie Gavin's European title challenge fight on Saturday night.

Kerman Lejarraga v Frankie Gavin | Saturday 17th November 2018, 21:00

On Saturday Frankie Gavin challenges Spain’s Kerman Lejarraga for the European welterweight title in Bilbao. Backing Gavin at 5/1 (Paddy Power) is by no means a banker, but represents tremendous value.

Lejarraga has had 42 amateur fights – compare that to Gavin’s world championship gold, Commonwealth gold and European gold, and it looks a little skinny.

However, pro fights aren’t won with amateur records and Lejarraga 26-0 (21) has earned his nickname, ‘The Revolver’, in the pro ranks. He’s certainly a puncher. His previous face-off against a British fighter saw him stop Bradley Skeete in the second round, a result that nobody expected. He’s had a tick-over fight since and registered another stoppage win.

For Gavin, at 33, this may be a final roll of the dice, but it’s one he could well be equipped for. A glance down his record reminds fight fans that the Birmingham man has defeated Skeete himself. He’s also gotten the better of Junior Witter and Jason Welborn.

While it’s a few years since those notable victories, they do show the level that ‘Funtime’ Frankie can box at. More recently, a 2016 stoppage loss to Sam Eggington could be cause for concern. However, Gavin fans will hope their man learned from that fight.

In the Birmingham derby with Eggington, Gavin went toe-to-toe at times in a fight where, stylistically, it just didn’t make sense. It’s even more apparent this strategy would be detrimental in Bilbao against Lejarraga, so Gavin’s gameplan, surely, should be to box clever.

If he can draw on his amateur pedigree and the boxing ability he undoubtedly has, then it may be possible to negate the power of his Basque opponent. A game plan will be vital though, as will Gavin’s ability to move and box.

The Birmingham man is taking his task seriously and is already out in Bilbao acclimatising. He said, in a statement via his promoters, BCB Boxing, “However I have to get there; however I have to win, I’m bringing that European title back to the UK.”

While Frankie Gavin clearly has his vulnerabilities he also has an amazing boxing resume and a skill set that makes him more than able to claim the European title in Bilbao. Hopefully he can learn from the mistakes Skeete made in his fight with Lejarraga, and learn from his own errors against Eggington.

With those lessons in mind, a box and move game-plan, and discipline from the Birmingham fighter, we could see the title come back to Britain.

A win for Gavin is by no means a given. But at 5/1 (Paddy Power), backing Frankie represents a rarely found level of value. Lejarraga would be far from the biggest scalp on his record.

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Kerman Lejarraga v Frankie Gavin – Frankie Gavin to win (5/1 Paddy Power)

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