Gavin Rees Brave But Too Small For Andreas Kotelnik

By Andrew Walker: Gavin Rees 27-1(13) lost in his first defence of the WBA light welterweight title he won last year to Andreas Kotelnik 29-2-1(13) at the Cardiff International Arena, Cardiff, Wales tonight. The fight was hardly a sell out but the fans that did turn up made enough noise to fill a stadium, even if it was racist and abusive at times during the under card..

In the main event Rees started the fight fast and the plan looked to repeat the tactics that won him the WBA title last July from Frenchman Souleymane M'baye, but the difference in this fight was that Kotelnik was not missing with his big shots and letting Rees counterpunch a point’s lead.

Although Rees was busy and stuck to his task the better boxing was being displayed by the bigger man Andreas Kotelnik who eventually put Rees down in the final round with another of his big rights. Rees got back up but he was running on fumes and the referee stopped the fight soon after. From as early as the third round though this was a one sided fight and only Gavin Rees heart and spirit kept him there until the twelfth. Rees is a big man in heart but he is not built to be a natural light welterweight and perhaps should be campaigning at super featherweight or lightweight?

Take nothing away from Andreas Kotelnik he boxed well and won the title that many thought he should have won when he fought for it just over a year ago in Liverpool when he recorded a draw against then champion Souleymane M'baye. Kotelnik (from the Ukraine but based in Hamburg Germany) will now look to make his defences back in Germany but a possible rematch with Junior Witter the current WBC light welterweight title holder who beat Kotelnik on points in 2005 for the European title could be on the horizon.

Either belt holder would rather have a big payday against the Ring magazine champion and IBO title holder Rick Hatton but a rematch would still be a big fight for the two of them and would help unify the division. Trainer Enzo Calzaghe has now lost two out of two world title fights this year, with his stable of talented boxers down to one world champion (unless you count Gary Lockett’s WBU middleweight title) in the shape of son Joe Calzaghe. Enzo will be hoping that bad luck does not come in three’s with Joe’s big fight against Bernard Hopkins coming up next month in Las Vegas.

As for Gavin Rees, he should come back at a lower weight class that his frame is more suited too and box for a British or European title before the year is out. With his heart and talent Rees would be a force on the British domestic scene at Super feather or lightweight but it remains to be seen if he could get up for those level of fights after being a world champion? In the penultimate round trainer Enzo Calzaghe asked Rees to now throw some big shots. Rees laughed and said, “I ‘m already throwing them." Joker until the end is Gavin but one thing is for sure he earned his pay check tonight despite the loss.

Article posted on 23.03.2008

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