Frankie Gavin retires from boxing, but fighting days may not be over

RINGSIDE 23/01/2020
Frankie Gavin

📸 Lawrence Lustig

Frankie Gavin has retired from boxing – but his fighting days may not be over.

Gavin turned professional in 2009 after becoming the first Brit to win world amateur gold and as a pro, he captured the Lonsdale belt outright and challenged Kell Brook for world honours.

He’s decided to hang up his gloves at 33 after 26 wins in 30 fights – and says he’s tempted to join the growing bareknuckle boxing circuit.

The Birmingham slickster will be ringside at the next show at London’s O2 Indigo on Saturday, January 25 and said: “I’ve watched it on television and it could be good.

“You don’t’ want to get hit in a bareknuckle fight – and that was always my game.

“Technically, I would be the best they’ve got.”

Former professional gloved boxers John Wayne Hibbert and Travis Dickinson have found the transition to bareknuckle tough, while ex-English champion Tyler Goodjohn has been able to see the punches coming from the ex-kickboxers and MMA fighters he’s been facing and his defensive smarts have had more than one million internet views.

Gavin says a possible target for him is Curtis Woodhouse, who he outpointed on a majority points vote in Liverpool in July, 2011.

“I’m just going to get back into training, start enjoying it again and see what happens,” he said.

Gavin is in the gym most nights at Hall Green Amateur Boxing Club.

That was where he was based for the majority of his amateur career with Tom Chaney.

Chaney taught Gavin what he called the “punch, move, punch, move” tactics that took him to Commonwealth Games gold in 2006 and the World Championship the following year.

Only David Haye (silver), Carl Froch (bronze) and Neil Perkins (bronze) had ever won medals for England at the World Championship and Gavin struck gold with six wins in 10 days.

True, the Cubans weren’t there, but Aleksei Tishchenko was and at the time, the 23 year-old Russian was rated possibly the best pound-for-pound amateur in the world.

He had won Olympic gold in 2004 and the World Championship the following year, but found Gavin unfathomable in the semi finals and was beaten 19-10.

In the final, Gavin outpointed Italy’s Domenico Valentino and ahead of the Beijing Olympics, Gavin looked to be one of Britain’s best hopes for gold.

The news that Gavin had to pull out because he could no longer make 60kgs was national news and a swarm of photographers were waiting for him when he arrived home.

“Nobody was to blame,” said Gavin weeks later when the dust had settled. “I just grew too much.”

Gavin made his pro debut on the same show as James DeGale and Billy-Joe Saunders.

They won world honours while Gavin fell short when challenging Kell Brook for his IBF welterweight title in May, 2015.


On better nights, Gavin took the British title off Junior Witter and beat Denton Vassell and David Barnes.

He said: “Obviously I underachieved. It didn’t go as planned.

“I was world No 1 as an amateur and sometimes I think that once I turned pro, I fell out of love with it.

”I still won the British title and fought for the world title, but I should have done more.”