Bradford fighter Witter admits retirement may beckon after British title defeat (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford fighter Junior Witter admits retirement may beckon after British title defeat to Frankie Gavin
Junior Witter was left on the brink of retirement from the boxing ring after losing his British welterweight crown tonight.
Bradford’s former world champion became the oldest holder of the domestic title when he took it from Colin Lynes in May.
The 38-year-old vowed then that he was not on a farewell tour – but he looked a man reaching the end of his career as unbeaten Frankie Gavin took it from him with a wide unanimous verdict at London’s York Hall.
Witter admitted: “I was nowhere near my best. My fitness was there and the training camp went really well but I couldn’t get my hands going.
“I don’t know (about retirement) because I’ve got to reassess things first. But it might be.”
Gavin, Britain’s only ever world amateur champion, was the pre-fight favourite with the bookies. And they don’t often get it wrong.
It was the sixth loss in the 49th fight of Witter’s impressive career. He wore shorts bearing the motto “Phoenix, I rise from the ashes”, implying he could still come back to the heights he scaled in the light-welter division.
For the early rounds, at least, it looked like he had a point.
Gavin suffered a cut on the bridge of his nose in the opening minutes after an accidental clash of heads. The challenger’s face was marking up as Witter called the shots early on.
The third was closer but still it was the veteran who was bossing it.
The fourth round finished even but there were still signs of some frustration in Gavin’s work as he threw a couple to the back of the head as the bell sounded.
But the contest started to swing in the middle rounds as Gavin came back to take the fifth and sixth. With his confidence growing, he started to have a pop at Witter, who had scarcely been troubled in the early exchanges.
Witter went down in the sixth but that was just a slip. At least the fight was losing its cageyness as both tried to open up but there was nothing major landing.
McDonnell’s patience was being tested after Gavin again clipped Witter on the back but he came back with a decent shot to the jaw.
The challenger had the momentum and put Witter under pressure once more in the eighth. But for all his hard work, not much was getting through.
Witter went into taunt mode by dropping both hands provocatively behind him – and returned to his corner to an earful from furious trainer Dominic Ingle. He could see the fight slipping away.
But there was no immediate response and Witter walked on to an uppercut as he looked for a big shot of his own.
Witter was running out of answers and a docked point only increased Gavin’s advantage. Suddenly the Peter Pan of the ring was looking his age.
He tried to pick up the pace for the final three minutes, finding a bounce in his feet that had gone missing in the previous rounds.
It was too little too late and Gavin's dominance was reflected on the scorecards, which read 119-109, 117-112, 117-110.
Witter has done Bradford proud over the past decade or so but there is surely nowhere left for him to go.