By Danny Winterbottom
Manchester’s Denton Vassell will challenge Birmingham’s Frankie Gavin in a highly anticipated battle for domestic welterweight supremacy on the rearranged July 20th Wembley Arena show after promoter Frank Warren said he needed more time to secure a ‘top named’ opponent for Dereck Chisora after American KO artist Deontay Wilder was charged with domestic assault in Las Vegas.
27-year-old Wilder, who destroyed Audley Harrison in 70 seconds in Sheffield last month, would have provided a tough matchup for the former world title challenger but the 5 week delay will allow Warren to secure the services of Tyson Fury, Manuel Charr or Fres Oquendo with the promoter saying;
‘’We had to find a replacement opponent for Chisora following the problems caused by Wilder’s arrest, and as the co-feature on the bill we are looking to secure the strongest opponent and make the best fight possible for the fans. Offers have gone out to some top names and we’re confident of delivering a good fight.’’
‘’This is a value for money show with fast rising star Paul Butler and a cracking fight between unbeaten champions Frankie Gavin and Denton Vassell.”
Meanwhile the mouth-watering clash between the aforementioned Vassell and Gavin will have a few extra weeks to come to the boil as both men tailor their training regimes to facilitate the new date.
Gavin, 27, claimed the British title in a messy affair against faded former world champion Junior Witter in November and stopped an outclassed Jason Welborn in January, but in the marauding Vassell, who cites Mike Tyson and Jack Dempsey as his idols, he faces his toughest test to date as they put their respective unbeaten records and titles on the line.
“To be honest I would fight him in his back garden and still put on a performance” Vassell declared to SecondsOut recently, unconcerned at the prospect of travelling south down the M6 to face the classy southpaw champion.
“I’m a come forward puncher and he sits back looking for counters but I don’t look into styles too much. All I know is he won’t want to go toe to toe.”
Vassell, from the Ancoats area of Manchester and the reigning Commonwealth 10st 7lbs boss, returned to action after a yearlong hiatus, to stop the previously unbeaten and highly touted prospect Ronnie Heffron with a barrage of brutal uppercuts in six rounds back in November, and like Gavin, has seen problems outside the ring lead to inactivity.
“Yeah I have had my share of problems but I am always in the gym. Just punching a heavy bag would help; it got me through the hard times and against Heffron I was really pleased with my performance and I felt better than ever”
Known as “Quiet Storm”, the 28-year-old has been accused in the past of bringing his laid back outlook on life into the prize ring and he admits he has been working hard with trainer Bob Shannon inside the confines of his Fighting Fit gym to eradicate this side of his fighting persona.
“That’s just me!” he laughed, “But I know I need to switch on from the first bell especially against someone like Gavin”
“This fight will prove who is the best welterweight in Britain and after it the winner can join Kell Brook at world level.”