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Page last updated at 10:08 GMT, Monday, 4 August 2008 11:08 UK

Brits to watch: Frankie Gavin

Frankie Gavin

By Ben Dirs

Birmingham's Frankie Gavin became England's first ever World Amateur champion in Chicago last year and is the most likely of Team GB's eight-strong boxing squad to strike gold in Beijing.

The 22-year-old southpaw is also a two-time Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE) champion, the reigning Commonwealth Games lightweight champion and won gold at the European Union Championships in Poland last month.

Many boxing insiders believe he is even more talented than Amir Khan, Gavin's former sparring partner who won silver at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

FACTS & STATS

Born: 28 September 1985, Birmingham
Trains: English Institute of Sport, Sheffield
Career highlights: World Amateur Championships gold (Nov '07), Commonwealth gold (Mar '06), English ABA champion '04-'05

PATH TO THE PODIUM

Recent form: Gold at the worlds and again at last month's EU Championships - although in the light-welterweight division - mean Gavin will be many people's favourite to win gold in the 60kg category.

'Raging' Ben v 'Funtime' Frankie

Rivals: Russia's Alexey Tishchenko, who won featherweight gold at the 2004 Olympics, was unbeaten for three years before Gavin outpointed him in the semi-finals of last year's worlds.

"In Beijing I'd say Tishchenko is my main rival but I feel I can beat him easily," says Gavin.

Italy's Domenico Valentino, who Gavin beat in the final in Chicago, will also be in Beijing, while Cuba's Yordenis Ugas and America's Sadam Ali are highly-rated operators.

What he says: "There's no reason why there can't be a gold in Beijing, I should win the Olympics. Everyone says the worlds are harder than the Olympics and now I've won the worlds, it shows me the level I'm at."

What you say: "Gavin is in with a big chance of boxing gold. As for the others, they can all look good, but none of them really convinces." Great Hayemaker

Sporting high: Gavin won six fights in 10 days to claim World Championship gold in Chicago - no British fighter had reached a final in any weight category since the event's inception in 1974.

Sporting low: Few to speak of in the ring, but coach Terry Edwards has reportedly been forced to throw him out of the GB training camp on more than one occasion.

In action: Preliminaries - Monday 11 August, 0630-0930, 1200-1500 BST; second round - Friday 15 August, 0630-0930, 1200-1500 BST; quarter-finals - Tuesday 19 August, 1200-1500 BST; semi-finals - Friday 22 August, 1200-1500 BST; final - Sunday 24 August, 0630-1000 BST

AWAY FROM BOXING

Life before sport: Gavin grew up on an estate in Birmingham and admits to causing his fair share of trouble, but pulled himself together and learnt his trade at Hall Green Amateur Boxing Club.

Most likely to: Be found playing computer games with his mates back in Birmingham.

His constant battle to make weight means he must turn down constant invitations to the pub for a few jars.

Least likely to: Receive a Christmas card from an ABA official. Gavin recently broke rank to criticise the sport's governing body.

"The ABA are a joke, really," said Gavin. "They don't do anything for you. They give you so many promises but they just don't keep them. So I can't see me staying amateur unless something changes."

Did you know? Gavin is a big fan of fellow Brummies UB40. "Red Red Wine is a great song to chill out to after a hard session in the gym," says Frankie.

His battle to make the 60kg lightweight limit has forced him to seek the help of Ricky Hatton's nutritionist Kerry Kayes - if anyone can boil Frankie down in time, Hatton's man can.


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see also
Team GB for Beijing
21 Jul 08 |  Team GB
Photos of Britain's top boxers
09 May 08 |  Boxing


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