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29 JULY 2014

 

Rees: 'I’m one step from Another World title'


GAVIN REES
GAVIN REES

Gavin Rees says he is hungrier than ever as he faces Derry Mathews in his first defence of the European Lightweight title on Saturday night at the Newport Centre, live on Sky Sports 1 and HD1 from 8pm – knowing a win can bring him one step closer to his two-weight World champion dream.

Rees won the WBA Light-Welterweight World crown in 2007 and believes that four years later, he is in prime condition to get another World title shot at Lightweight but after beating Mathews, he is eyeing up another all-British clash.

“I don’t mind who I have to fight to win a World title,” said Rees. “But I’d love a fight with Kevin Mitchell too. It’s a fight that I think I’d win but it’d be a cracker and one that fight fans and Sky Sports would love to see.”

Before a World title shot though, there’s the small matter of Saturday’s Wales v England battle, as Mathews steps into the ring with a top class opponent over 12 rounds for the first time since coming back from retirement.

“I would never look beyond my next fight and what is in front of me, and I know that Derry is a hungry fighter and one that will give everything against me,” said Rees. “He’s come back from a little break and is on a nice run of wins after moving up to Lightweight.

“A break does you good sometimes. When you have been training hard every week 10 years or so, you probably need time off just to rediscover your love for it. Since Derry’s come back from his break he’s had five or six wins all through stoppages so it’s going to be a great fight.”

Things have got heated on Twitter and Facebook, with Rees on the receiving end from some of Mathews’ fans but the Welshman laughed off suggestions that those taunts have got under his skin, and predicted that the Liverpool fighter will suffer the sixth knockout of his career.

“He’ll be in there on his own in on Saturday so we’ll see then,” said Rees. “He’s four fights unbeaten now which people make a big deal out of, so if I make a statement against him then it’s good for me. I’ve had eight weeks of excellent training, he’s getting knocked out for the sixth time and we both know it. His last opponent Stephen Jennings had only five fights under his belt and it was his first fight over six rounds – he’s a novice and nowhere near my level so his last win is not even a factor.”

Rees’ last opponent was Andy Murray, the Irishman who travelled to Cardiff to face Rees for the vacant European strap. The victory never looked beyond doubt after the opening rounds, but Rees seemed to tire in the mid-section of the fight, and despite a strong finish, the old questions of conditioning were raised – Rees was quick to respond when they were put to him again.

“I got a bit tired towards the end but that’s been rectified and I’m in perfect shape now,” said Rees. “Training has been great and I’ve worked hard on my diet and condition as well. Sparring with Ricky Burns and Frankie Gavin is perfect preparation for any fight. You have to travel about a bit to get some different sparring as I’ve had it all my own way in Wales really, but it’s been worth it.”


The 31 year-old talks with new found vigour about the path ahead and believes it all began with making the decision to team up with new trainer Gary Lockett. The former WBU Middleweight champion unveiled a secret weapon in getting Rees in perfect shape for Saturday and beyond – a former Mister Wales winner.

“We bought in an old friend in Renzo Algieri who is a former Mr Wales from back in the 90s with a bodybuilding background,” said Lockett. “He knows everything there is to know about nutrition and diet and it’s worked a treat. When Gavin checked weighed-in a week ago he had to get back on the scales because he thought they were lying to him!

“There have been problems in the past with his diet, but I don’t really blame Gavin for that. When you have been doing something for really wrong so long, then it becomes embedded in you. When he joined me I couldn’t just give him a crash course in how to do things right. The diet was the last thing we worked on but when someone has been boiling the weight off the old fashioned way for years, and they start having a new routine, as soon as the weight doesn’t shift they revert back to the old ways, and that’s exactly what happened against Andy Murray.

“People keep going on that he died after six rounds and that he needs to be fitter – what do they think we are doing? I’ve been there in 12 rounders and I know what it takes to be strong over that distance, so it was nothing to do with fitness, all to do with diet. What he did the day before the weigh-in to make the weight was ridiculous and the fact he went 12 rounds is a testament to his strength, his condition and his desire for the sport. Normally, a fight with Andy I’d expect him to win it in three or four rounds, but he had to go 12 rounds because he killed himself so badly to make the weight.”

Rees calls joining up with Lockett “a second life” and explained that it’s through his hard work and teaming up with Gary and Matchroom Sport that he is taking another step closer to his two-weight dream on Saturday.

“After my World Title loss I had a year’s break,” said Rees. “The Calzaghe camp went a bit pear-shaped, I sorted things out, came back and won Prizefighter. I joined up with Matchroom Sport, won the British and European, and now things are looking good for another World title crack.

“Matchroom have got a great stable coming on, there are big names with young hot prospects too, it’s the best promotional outfit in Britain and it’s great to be a part of it.

“When I came back and won Prizefighter it seemed a bit easy really, I didn’t really train for it and I was at 10st 3lb, nice and comfy. From that point on I realised that it was a massive springboard and I started to knuckle down, train harder, eat right and make things happen – that’s why Saturday is such a big night.”

For ticket information please contact Matchroom Sport on 01277 359900.


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