• Gavin Rees v Antony Mezaache

Rees defends European title in style

ESPN staff
March 23, 2012
Gavin Rees defended his belt in style © PA Photos

Gavin Rees retained his European lightweight belt with a seventh-round stoppage of Frenchman Antony Mezaache in Paris.

The Welshman dominated from the outset and with 42 seconds remaining in the seventh round, the referee stepped in to end the fight after a flurry from Rees left Mezaache slumped on the ropes.

Rees started brighly, rocking Mezaache in the first round. A clash of heads in the third left the Frenchman with a gash on his forehead, but his team managed to stem the flow of blood.

As the fight progressed, Rees got bogged down in a couple of scrappy rounds, but he rediscovered his urgency in the fifth with a series of brutal combinations.

In front of his home crowd in Clichy la Garenne, Mezaache showed real heart, but he was outgunned by a faster, more powerful opponent, who was relentless as he looked for the knockout blow.

A vicious right sent Mezaache onto one knee, and when Rees landed a series of unanswered blows, the referee stepped in to stop the fight as Rees claimed his 36th career win from 38 fights.

"I felt great, it's boiling in here," Rees told Sky Sports. "I started jabbing and followed it up with some nice shots on the outside. He didn't really hurt me tonight, I won every round and stopped him in good fashion.

"I keep telling everyone I can punch at lightweight and I think I showed that tonight. I always seem to dig in when it gets tough."

Meanwhile, Rees' fellow Welshman Enzo Maccarinelli claimed the British cruiserweight title with a decision win over Shane McPhilbin in Wolverhampton.

The former cruiserweight world champion was knocked to the canvas in the opening round, but survived to claim a unanimous decision victory, with the judges scoring the fight 115-11 116-110 115-110 in his favour.

Macarinelli, who is being lined up for a shot at Nathan Cleverly's WBO light-heavyweight title, was without his coach Enzo Calzaghe, who had his training licence was withdrawn by the British Boxing Board of Control.

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