News May 2019

Gavin Rees talks shocking 2013, Crolla loss, Buckland fight plus Broner's demise


By Michael J Jones

Gavin Rees

Welshman Gavin Rees was his usual confident self when Livefight caught up with him this week. The former world WBA champion faces fellow Welsh contender Gary Buckland at the Cardiff Motorpoint Arena on February 1st as he looks to put a diabolical 2013 behind him.

After a brace of solid victories in defence of his European title, Rees would face Adrien Broner last February in Atlantic City but found the WBO lightweight champion too strong and was stopped in five.

Three months after just his second defeat, Rees took what looked on paper a safe match vs Anthony Crolla but surprisingly dropped a majority decision which divided most fans and experts.

Now 34 and inactive for some seven months, the stocky Rees looks to put those two defeats and injury woes behind him to try and get back in the UK lightweight mix in 2014.

With a still-impressive record of 37-3-1 (18) hereís what ďThe RockĒ had to say...

LF) How is training going ahead of the Buckland fight?

GR) Itís going good, thereíre no faults and Iím just looking forward to the fight now.

LF) Youíve had well-documented problems with injuries in recent years how are you right now physically?

GR) Iím not going to lie Iím 34 now and thereís always going to be (injury) niggles. Every fighter says he has no injuries before a fight but thatís nonsense; every fighter has little injuries going into a fight. At my age I have to learn to adapt and accept Iíll never be 100%.

LF) You said you thought you had won the Crolla fight following the decision being read. How do you see that fight now after watching it back?

GR) Iíve not actually watched it back since I donít know why (laughs). Yeah I thought I won at the time but I accept Anthony Crolla beat me fair and square so well done to him.

Gavin with trainer Lockett

LF) How bad were the injuries before that fight?

GR) Well even Joe Gallagher (Crollaís trainer) saw that I couldnít throw the right hand. I was in great shape for that fight but my injuries meant I couldnít even throw a right hand in the dressing room before the fight!

My palm and wrist on my right hand was bad and I also had a problem with my left elbow. Anthony Crolla is a good solid fighter and you canít take liberties against guys like that. I thought I could beat him in that state at the time but if I was the same now Iíd pull out of the (Buckland) fight no question.

LF) You face Gary Buckland next week in an all-Welsh clash. Heís coming off a stoppage loss to Stephen Smith what do you think is going through his mind now?

GR) Well when Broner stopped me it didnít bother me too much as I knew Broner was one of the best fighters in the world so I could put it behind me. I wasnít knocked out cold either I was stopped on my feet. Gary is a bit like me no nonsense I think he will probably have put that defeat firmly behind him and be looking to march on...though only he can answer that question really.

Gary Buckland is coming off a loss like me and we both are in the position where we need to prove ourselves. Gary I know is a quality fighter, a busy come-forward boxer and will be dangerous. It should be a great fight.

LF) Do you think you can stop Buckland as Smith did?

GR) Yes I think 100% I can stop him; either to the head or body. I know when I throw in threeís and fourís I can catch him and I am an excellent body puncher too. I think I have the power to stop him either way.

It can be disheartening training hard and getting injured but this time Iíve sparred a little less to avoid injuries. Iíd rather fight well and spar less than look great in sparring and end up getting injured and looking bad in the fight.

Rees battles Broner

LF) Finally, were you surprised that Broner lost the way he did to Marcus Maidana?

GR) No I wasnít surprised at all. As a lightweight he was a monster, when we fought I couldnít believe how strong and hard hitting he was but he tried to be clever by moving up too fast. When I moved up from lightweight to light-welter I felt the difference but Broner jumped two divisions. He did well to beat Paulie Malignaggi but Maidana is a big strong welterweight.

Broner should have stayed at 9st 9 where nobody could have beaten him. He made a mistake jumping up too quick and not letting his body adjust to the new weight. I wasnít surprised he lost in the slightest.

Tickets for 'Reloaded' Selby v Munroe are on sale now priced at £30, £40, £60 ringside and £120 VIP are available or by calling 02920 22 44 88

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The show will be broadcast live on Sky Sports

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