A Midlands sports journalist is swapping boozing for boxing and paunching for punching as he fights world amateur champion Frankie Gavin for charity this month.
Press Association reporter Phil Barnett will take on fellow Brummie Gavin, amongst others, in Digbeth, Birmingham on December 19 at the Pat Benson Boxing Academy.
Gavin, Britain’s best amateur in history and a recent world title challenger, agreed to step in after Barnett’s hopes of fighting unbeaten welterweight world champion Kell Brook fell through.
Money raised via www.justgiving.co.uk/barnettovsbrook will go to REACH – Association for Children with Upper Limb Deficiency.
Barnett explained: “I’m really chuffed Frankie has stepped up to the plate and shown his mettle after Brook bottled it.
“I’m sure Kell wasn’t exactly quaking in his boots, but we agreed to do the fight for charity back in February and he just messed me about for months.
“In the end, out of respect for those who have sponsored me and those who helped me with training etc, I had to ditch Kell and find someone of similar calibre. I know Frankie well through my job and he was only too happy to take the opportunity to smash me in the face!
“It’s a shame Kell flaked out on me but it’s worked out well. It means we can do it in Birmingham, which is obviously better for my friends and family who want to support me, and it’s a better story because we’re mates – or, we were – and both Brummies and Blues fans.”
Gavin, who actually challenged Brook for the IBF world title earlier this year, said: “I’m always up for a good cause and anyway, the chance to give Phil a pasting was too good to miss.
“I’ll probably even donate to the charity anyway just for the privilege of knocking him out!”
Barnett added: “Frankie and I have sparred before so there won’t be any great secrets when we get in the ring on fight night. But I know for a fact he will go all out to hurt me, because if he takes it even the slightest bit easy he’ll look bad and his reputation will be damaged.
“As for me, I can’t box for my life and my lungs aren’t what they should be. So I’ll definitely be going all-out for the early knockout!”
Tickets are £25 sponsorship via https://www.justgiving.com/BarnettoVsBrook or on the door. For more information, please call 07976 285.
Tickets include photo opportunities and entry into a draw to win a signed glove by World Heavyweight Champion, Tyson Fury!