The MotorPoint arena in Cardiff played host to one of the best rematches we have seen in a British ring in many years, as Gavin ‘the rock’ Rees bowed out of his professional boxing career in one final tear up with his old rival Gary Buckland. Their last encounter in February set the years fight calender off as a possible fight of the year contender in what was a very close brutal 12 rounder which really could of been scored either way. Gavin’s promoter Eddie Hearn persuaded Rees to enter the ring one last time, to give us lucky fight fans another opportunity to see the pair go at it one last time to fire off some beautiful skills of the sweet science. No one could of been disappointed at what we witnessed.
The first 2 rounds were very even as each man got a round each, and it was clear that we were in for yet another war of nutrition with a knock out not being on the cards. Buckland took the fight to his opponent with some tremendous shots to the head and body of Rees, which were countered by Rees at every available opportunity. Both men traded in the middle of the ring punch for punch, but Rees was edging the score cards until the 6th round, when Buckland appeared to get a second wind as he came flying out of the corner after his team had obviously said something to inspire their man to go take the fight as at this point The Rock was ahead and about to pull away. Buckland then damaged the nose and eye of Rees in the 10th round, but began to feel the pressure from Rees as he floundered by sheer exhaustion from the onslaught he was dealing with. As the 12th round bell sounded, the 2 men came out in to the middle of the ring as everyone in the Motor Point arena were on their feet, as Star Class A referee Ian John Lewis applauded both men, and we were all set for the last round of Rees’s professional career, and what a round it was. Buckland was now fighting for survival as Rees came forward to make his last 3 minutes one to remember. He exploded some tremendous left and right crosses to the head and body of Buckland and it looked at one point that Rees could finally take his man out, but Buckland stood firm by dodging most of Rees’s shots, just to make it through to the end of the fight. As the bell sounded, the whole arena exploded into what could only be described as absolute appreciation for what the crowd had just witnessed as both men hugged in the only way 2 true sportsman who had just beaten 10 bells out of each other could out of total respect for each other. The score cards were read out as a split decision and the crowd was near silent for the first time all night. Rees was finally announced as the winner as Ian John Lewis raised the arm of Gavin Rees for the final time of his wonderful career as a professional fighter.
Rees deserved this win, albeit a close fight as one judge thought, but this confirmed how well matched both men were for each other. In the post fight interview Gavin confirmed that he has finally retired and will be opening a bar in Wales, as he walks away from the professional game. Gary Buckland spoke of his utter respect towards Rees as a fighter and friend.
Rees will always be remembered for his aggressive fighting style and long spanning professional career, over which he has earned the British and Commonwealth Titles and the WBA light welterweight world title in 2007. Gavin never shied away from any fight, as he showed when he went to the Atlantic City in the USA to fight the brash Adrian Broner, when he suffered a vicious defeat by knock out against a a very dangerous opponent. He then lost to Crolla and Buckland, but certainly got his deserved revenge last night. I for one will certainly miss seeing him in the ring, as will all his loyal fans, and I wish him a very happy well earned retirement from the hardest game.
I have found this fight on You Tube for you to enjoy.