Lightweight contender Gavin Rees produced an explosive display to retain his European title in Clichy, France, on Friday, when he stopped local favorite Anthony Mezaache in round seven of a bloody one-sided contest.
Rees, a former 140-pound titleholder, underlined his superior power and ability from the outset against 33-year-old Mezaache, who suffered a nasty, gushing cut to his forehead in the third following a clash of heads.
The accidental collision did nothing for the Frenchman’s chances or spirits as Rees, from Newbridge, Wales, immediately went up a gear, with his accurate jabs and controlled follow-up attacks taking a serious toll on the messed-up challenger over the next three rounds.
All three judges’ scorecards had the 31-year-old Brit leading by a wide margin — two had it 59-55, one 60-54 — when, following another fierce barrage of blows to the head and body, Mezaache’s corner decided their man had taken enough punishment and threw in the towel with 45 seconds of round seven remaining at the Gymnase Georges Racine.
“He was a tough opponent, he had only been stopped once before. He’s the mandatory and I won every round,” said Rees after a successful second defence of his EBU belt. “I keep telling everyone I can punch at lightweight and I have just shown it tonight.”
As for his ambitions of becoming a two-weight titleholder, Rees (36-1-1, 17 KOs ) believes anything is possible right now. There is talk of a summer showdown with Scotland‘s WBO holder Ricky Burns, or a domestic match-up against any number of British contenders in the lightweight division
“I feel 21 and I can definitely win another title given the chance. I can definitely pull it out of the bag,” he added.