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Last Updated: Tuesday, 12 February 2008, 08:35 GMT
Rees wants springboard to Hatton
By Sean Davies

Gavin Rees with his WBA light-welterweight belt
Rees is excited to headline his first world title show
WBA light-welterweight champion Gavin Rees is already looking beyond his first defence in Cardiff on 22 March.

The undefeated Newbridge man, 27, faces mandatory challenger Andreas Kotelnik at the Cardiff International Arena.

But he has an eye on British super fights with Ricky Hatton and Junior Witter, and has not ruled out following stable-mate Joe Calzaghe to the USA.

"Hatton and Witter are the big bouts for me, it'd be England v Wales and I'd love to unify the division," said Rees.

606: DEBATE

"It would also be great to get one of the big Americans one day, to follow Joe to Las Vegas.

"And after the big fights at light-welterweight, one day I may even look at stepping back down and winning a title at lightweight."

Rees, who has a record of 27-0 with 13 knockouts, won the belt with a shock victory over Souleymane M'Baye in Cardiff last July.

That was on Enzo Maccarinelli's undercard and Rees is thrilled to be the headline act this time around.

I've watched Joe and Enzo headlining, now I hope it's the first of many for me

Gavin Rees

"Having your own world title show is what every boxer dreams about, I've watched Joe and Enzo headlining, now I hope it's the first of many for me," Rees told BBC Sport Wales.

"There's extra pressure on me, but I've always been good at dealing with that, it shouldn't affect me.

"Kotelnik is a good boy, he's never been stopped and has just two losses and one draw in 31 fights.

"But there are no easy matches as a world champion. He's a come-forward fighter and I'm confident I can stop him."

Trainer Enzo Calzaghe - who has been with Rees since he was nine - was delighted to see him land his headline chance.

"I told [promoter] Frank Warren to get Gavin on as the main feature and he's obliged me," Calzaghe told BBC Sport Wales.

"Gavin deserves it, what he achieved against M'Baye was amazing, shocking everyone in the boxing world except everyone in our gym.

"Kotelnik is a challenging fight, but that's the name of the game and Gavin's going to show that he's no flash in the pan.

"He has one of the best belts in the world. The likes of Hatton and Witter - they'll all be envious of that.

"Let's get it on with those guys and with the big names in the States. I'm his manager, all I need to make sure is that they show him the money."

Hari Miles, Gary Lockett, Enzo Calzaghe, Gavin Rees, Tony Doherty and Kerry Hope (left to right)
In Newbridge we're getting bigger than the Kronk Gym

Enzo Calzaghe

On the undercard, Gary Lockett appears in an international 10-rounder as he aims to keep up the pressure on WBO middleweight champion Kelly Pavlik, while Barrie Jones and Tony Doherty meet in a challenge for the Welsh welterweight title.

Calzaghe senior will be looking after Lockett and Doherty on the bill along with Kerry Hope and Hari Miles, the whole show sandwiched between Enzo Maccarinelli's clash with David Haye (8 March) and Joe Calzaghe's with Bernard Hopkins (19 April).

"Ten years ago, nobody would have dreamed that we'd be getting this level of boxing in Wales," said Enzo Calzaghe.

"In Newbridge we're getting bigger than the Kronk Gym, the recognition is growing worldwide."

Rees added: "It's an unbelievable gym, we're all doing well and hopefully there'll be a few more world champions out of here soon.

"I'm sure that Enzo [Maccarinelli] is going to win, so when we go with Joe to Vegas we'll be celebrating a hat-trick of great Welsh victories."



SEE ALSO
Rees facing tough Kotelnik test
06 Feb 08 |  Boxing
Rees claims world title success
21 Jul 07 |  Boxing
BBC Sport Wales coverage
01 May 06 |  Wales


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