Scott Gammer and Coleman Barrett exchange blows at Prizefighter
By Bruce Pope
BBC Sport at the ExCel Arena, London
Former British heavyweight champion Scott Gammer's return to the ring was cut short at the first hurdle of Prizefighter on Friday night.
But despite losing his opening-round clash to the night's surprise package, Coleman Barrett, Gammer says he has rediscovered his passion for boxing.
"I am going to carry on, I was happy with the way I boxed," Gammer said.
"The hunger is back, I want to get back into the gym now and get back to winning ways."
Gammer has retired after each of his past three defeats, although the Pembroke Dock man has admitted that his heart was never truly in it when he made previous comebacks.
But at 32 years old the Welshman should now be in his prime as a heavyweight and Gammer says this time around things will be different.
He [Coleman Barrett] was hurt a couple of times... those sort of things win you rounds
"I felt brilliant when I stepped into the ring, absolutely great. I felt relaxed but in the first round the timing was a little bit off, it wasn't quite there," he added.
"I didn't do anything spectacular in there but everything felt good, nothing felt out of place.
"It felt good in there, I felt strong, so yeah I'm going to carry on.
"It's a disappointment I lost that fight but I'm definitely going to carry on."
The first of seven fights on the night pitted Gammer, who had weighed in at 17st 11lb, against Barrett - the lightest fighter on show at 15st 13lb.
Gammer's absence from the ring showed in the first round at the 5,000 sell-out ExCel Arena, the Welshman struggling to find his timing against Barrett.
The southpaw Irishman, a World Championships bronze medallist in his amateur days, showed impressive hand-speed and seemed to edge the first three minutes.
But early in the second Gammer connected with a sweet, short left to the point of Barrett's chin, momentarily stunning the Galway fighter and putting him on the back foot for the remainder of the round.
Barrett emerged for the third seemingly with a new respect for the power Gammer carried, especially that left hook that kept finding its way through the southpaw guard.
But that did not stop the 26-year-old Irishman from unleashing regular flurries of punches, most caught on Gammer's gloves or dodged but still enough finding a scoring mark.
There were plenty at ringside who thought that Gammer had probably done just enough to edge it, although it was tight.
Coleman Barrett's great run was ended by Audley Harrison in the final
But ultimately the only opinions that counted were those of the three judges, who all scored the bout 29-28 in favour of Barrett.
"I'm very disappointed, a good boy I boxed but... I thought I was a comfortable winner of the fight," Gammer said.
"A lot of people are thinking I won two of the rounds and the first round was touch-and-go for a few of the boys.
"He was quite a fast boy as well so that's why it took a bit of getting used to but from thereon in, in the second and third round I thought I won quite easily myself.
"Once or twice in the fight I caught him with a left hook and I hurt him, I knew I'd hurt him.
"I don't know how it looked for everybody else but you know when you hurt a fighter and he was hurt a couple of times.
"Those sort of things win you rounds, he never hurt me once, he never caught me with any decent shots - not that I felt anyway - but I hurt him a few times so that's what I thought would have won me the fight.
"I enjoyed it but looking back now I wish that I'd put more into it, you know, but I thought I was winning the fight, I was being told in the corner I was winning the fight."
Barrett's victory set the tone for a night of upsets at Prizefighter, a contest that saw eight heavyweights compete in a succession of three-round bouts, beginning with four back-to-back quarter-finals, followed by semis and a final.
Carl Baker was next to make waves as he dropped British champion Danny Williams twice in the first round, then twice more in the second before weathering a third-round fightback to win the decision.
The pre-match expectation had been that Gammer and Williams would win through to face each other in the semi-finals in a repeat of their March 2007 clash in which William had taken Gammer's British crown.
Instead it was Barrett v Baker, with the Irishman not allowing Baker to bask for long in a famous win over Williams, thanks to a fusillade of punches that propelled Barret into the final.
In contrast the other side of the draw followed the expected outcomes, with Audley Harrison and Danny 'Bad News' Hughes meeting in the semis.
Hughes ensured there was no easy passage to the final for Harrison as he took the fight to the Olympic gold medallist, only to be dropped to the canvas late on and lose on points 30-26, 29-27, 29-28.
In the final, Barrett, oozing confidence, buzzed around Harrison like an angry hornet and had his Las Vegas-based opponent unsettled.
But a sweetly timed left exploded on Barrett's chin as Harrison sealed victory and the £32,000 winner's cheque.
While it was a much-needed victory for Harrison, restoring his stock somewhat after four defeats in eight fights, Williams' loss was disastrous.
The Brixton Bomber relinquished his British title with defeat to Baker and the ringside talk was of the likelihood of Williams announcing his retirement soon.
But with the British title now vacant the other heavyweights can start getting into line for eliminator bouts to have a crack at the crown.
Gammer is still someway off earning another chance at the title, although his manager Paul Boyce confirmed he will be back in action again soon.
But if the Welshman, whose record is now 18-5-1, does manage to recapture the form and desire of three years ago, do not bet against him swiftly climbing the rankings towards the crown he once wore.