Macklin and Gavin’s career-defining bouts

Champion and challenger: Kell Brook (right) defends his IBF title against Birmingham’s Frankie Gavin at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday 30 May.

Champion and challenger: Kell Brook (right) defends his IBF title against Birmingham’s Frankie Gavin at London’s O2 Arena on Saturday 30 May.

May will be quite a month for Birmingham boxers Matthew Macklin and Frankie Gavin who both face career-defining bouts. And with his career future on the line Matthew Macklin will be hoping his first bout in his home town for five years in the Barclaycard Arena this Saturday evening 9 May will kick-start at least one more opportunity for another world title bid.

Macklin’s opponent will be twenty-two year old Hungarian-based Romanian Ference Albert. That bout in the ‘Resurrection’ bill this Saturday evening also includes Olympian Anthony Joshua MBE making his Midlands debut against recently crowned South American Heavyweight champion Rafael Zumbano Love. Kal Yafai faces Rey Megrino for the WBC Silver Flyweight title and Sam Eggington faces Joseph Lamptey for the vacant Commonwealth Welterweight title. Blackpool favourite Brian Rose moves up to Middleweight and Liverpool’s Super Middleweight star Callum Smith also returns.

Gavin’s now or never moment against title holder Brook

Meanwhile twenty-nine year old Frankie Gavin finally gets a a shot at one of boxing’s global prizes against IBF world welterweight champion Kell Brook in London’s O2 Arena three weeks later. Although Gavin will be the underdog he will not be putting any heed in the bookies’ odds and believes he has a realistic chance against the holder in what will be his second title defence in just two months.

This is a now or never situation for Gavin whose career has appeared to be on a different trajectory to Brook’s for some time. Soon after Gavin’s shattering loss to Bundu (his only career loss) at the Civic Hall in Wolverhampton, Brook out-pointed American Shawn Porter at the StubHub Center in Calfornia. Kell Brook, now one of the biggest stars of British boxing, then retained the belt with a stunning four round demolition of Canadian Jo Jo Dan an hour after Gavin beat Mitic. Unlike Gavin, kell Brook is also regarded as one of Britain’s hottest talents in the ring.

“I didn’t think I would get a world title fight after losing to Bundhu, especially not so fast,’ said Gavin recently who added: “I thought I won the fight with Bundhu, it was nip and tuck and there was only one point in it. The camp for that fight wasn’t great, I didn’t get great sparring, and it’s something I’ve learned from.

“I’ve struggled for motivation in some recent fights. I underestimated Skeete and he had a game plan which he stuck to. He didn’t get involved once in the fight and he was holding and running. At the end, he said to me he could have done more.

“My last fight wasn’t great but I won it easily and I wasn’t getting hit too much. I didn’t get out of first gear and there was a lot more to come, but I had a shoulder injury and I wasn’t really letting go with the right. I’ve got physio twice a week to keep an eye on it.

“My fight with Bundhu was very close and Kell’s with Porter was also very close. If those fights had gone the other way as they easily could have, I would be the favourite for this fight, that’s how little there is in it between us.”

Gavin’s eagerness to fight Brook is not down to a life-changing purse; he is adamant his slick, southpaw style will frustrate Brook and cause an upset.

“I think I’ve got the style to beat him, I really do,” Gavin says. “Technically I’m the best welterweight he has been in with. He’s never been in with a southpaw like me. I rate Kell and I’m grateful for the opportunity but I fancy it. Technically he’s not very good, but he’s rough and ready and he’s a nightmare.

“The money is alright, it’s not great and it should be more, but if you get a world title opportunity you can’t turn it down. Once I win the title there will be more money.

“But titles mean more to me than money and I know I will have to produce the best of my career to beat Kell.

“There’s an immediate rematch clause in the contract – maybe they’re not as confident as they say they are. Kell says he feels unbeatable but they wanted that clause in there. I’m in a no-lose situation and I really fancy the job.”

Tickets are now on general sale for the bumper night of boxing at The O2 with tickets priced £40, £60, £80, £100 and £200 available from www.theO2.co.uk and on 0844 856 0202. The £400 VIP packages are exclusively available through www.matchroomboxing.com