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Last Updated: Saturday, 21 July 2007, 21:44 GMT 22:44 UK
Rees claims world title success
Gavin Rees lands a body shot against Souleymane M'Baye
Rees outpunched the champion throughout the 12 rounds
Gavin Rees powered to a unanimous points victory over champion Souleymane M'Baye to win the WBA light welterweight title in Cardiff.

The comprehensive success saw the unbeaten 27-year-old from Newbridge become Wales' 10th world champion.

Rees took the initiative from the start although M'Baye caused him some moments of worry midway through the bout.

Despite the absence of a big shot, the Welshman took the verdict 110-118, 112-117, 113-117.

The early signs were positive for Welsh fans with Rees working a series of quick combinations to the Frenchman's body, but the champion rarely sniffed danger in either of the first two rounds.

WALES' WORLD CHAMPIONS
Percy Jones (World flyweight champion, 1914)
Freddie Welsh (World lightweight champion, 1914-17)
Jimmy Wilde (World flyweight champion, 1916-23)
Howard Winstone (WBC featherweight champion, 1968)
Steve Robinson (WBO featherweight champion, 1993-95)
Robbie Regan (IBF flyweight champion, 1995, WBO bantamweight champion, 1996)
Barry Jones (WBO super featherweight champion, 1997)
Joe Calzaghe (WBO super middleweight champion, 1997-, IBF super middleweight champion 2006)
Enzo Maccarinelli (WBO cruiserweight champion, 2006-)
Gavin Rees (WBA light welterweight champion 2007-)

Rees, whose career looked to be over in 2004 after he was given a year-long ban for knocking out a funeral mourner, remained on the front foot while evading M'Baye's huge range of shots.

By the fourth, the Frenchman was landing the telling blows and in the fifth he smiled at Rees' best flurry while picking him off repeatedly with his left jab.

The sixth and seventh rounds saw the contender crunch M'Baye's ribs with a relentless surge of body shots but his best delivery, a left hook, clattered into the 32-year-old's jaw in the eighth.

The next four rounds passed in a similar fashion, the Welshman clearly the superior even in the absence of a big shot and when the verdict came few were surprised.

Rees said afterwards: "From the first bell I outpunched him every round. I started to tire towards the end but I had won the first eight rounds.

"I knew I had already won the fight so I knew to keep calm. No one expected me to beat him, no one at all.

"There are a lot of good fights now at light welterweight and a lot of good fights in Britain. I am the world champion."

There was more Welsh success on the Cardiff undercard as Blackwood super middleweight Nathan Cleverley enjoyed a sixth-round knockout of London-based Ghanaian Aittey Powers.

But Tony Doherty from Pontypool lost his Celtic welterweight title to Scotsman Kevin McIntrye on points.

Luton's Kerry Hope beat Sherman Alleyne won all six rounds in their middleweight contest, while Andy Morris warmed up for a crack at his old British featherweight title with a second round knockout of Daniel Thorpe.

SEE ALSO
Warren gives Rees stark warning
07 Jun 07 |  Boxing
Rees lines up November comeback
04 Oct 05 |  Boxing
Rees targets lightweights
05 Jul 04 |  Boxing
Rees' title bid off
30 Jun 04 |  Boxing
Wales' pugilist princes
07 Mar 06 |  Boxing
BBC Sport Wales coverage
01 May 06 |  Wales


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