By Michael Collins: 38-year-old Junior Witter (41-6-2, 22 KO’s) really showed his age tonight in losing his British welterweight title to the younger 26-year-old Frankie Gavin (14-0, 10 KO’s) by a 12 round unanimous decision at the York Hall, Bethnal Green, London, United Kingdom. The judges scored it 117-112, 119-109 and 117-110. For all practical purposes, Witter stopped punching from the 4th and did next to nothing for the last eight rounds of the fight other than flicking jabs and annoyingly changing stances from orthodox to southpaw seemingly nonstop.
Witter would occasionally throw wildly telegraphed right and left hands, but those shots rarely landed. The weird part about this fight was how Witter was unable to dominate despite a huge hand speed and power advantage. He was clearly the stronger fighter and the much faster guy but he just wouldn’t let his hands go. He basically gave the fight away. Gavin didn’t land a lot of shots himself, but he was busy enough to win virtually all the rounds from the 4th round on.
Witter showed excellent footwork and decent defensive boxing skills, but he just looked like a shot fighter unable to let hands go. Witter lost a point for holding in the 10th round. It wasn’t all that much holding, but the referee chose to take the point off anyway. The referee didn’t take a point off from Gavin despite him landing at least five hard rabbit punches in the fight.
Gavin’s confidence seemed to grow in the second half of the fight, mostly because Witter was no longer throwing punches and just clowning around. In the 10th and 11th rounds, Witter frequently fought with his right hand behind his back as if begging Gavin to throw a punch. In his youth, Witter would land nice counter punches when his opponents would go to take advantage of the situation, but tonight Witter wouldn’t or couldn’t pull the trigger.
The undercard left a lot to be desired in that there was no big names or even little names among the bunch. It was just a really weak undercard. There was nothing there to make up for the boring main event.
Ronnie Heffron PTS 8 Peter McDonagh
John Dignum PTS 4 Joe Walsh
Craig Evans PTS 6 Ideh Ockuko
Gary Corcoran TKO 1 Ross Payne
Charlie Hoy PTS 6 Francis Croes
Miles Shinkwin PTS 4 Jody Meikle