Boxing

Tune in for a cracking fight... Sean McComb confident of Commonwealth title success against Gavin Gwynne

Sean McComb takes on Gavin Gwynne for the Commonwealth lightweight title tonight. Pic: Hugh Russell
Andy Watters

Commonwealth Lightweight title: Sean McComb (11-0) v Gavin Gwynne (12-2) (tonight, 10pm, live on ESPN+/YouTube)

TUNE in for a cracking fight, says Sean McComb who expects leather to fly and his hand to be raised as he makes who makes the step up to title level against experienced Welsh tough nut Gavin Gwynne in Bolton tonight.

This is a meeting of the stylish up-and-comer (McComb) and the gritty and durable Gwynne who has challenged at British/Commonwealth level twice previously but fallen short despite giving a good account of himself on both occasions.

McComb was a three-time Irish Elite champion (2013, 2015 and 2017) and European bronze medallist who represented Northern Ireland at the 2018 Commonwealth Games. Since turning over after those Games, ‘The Public Nuisance’ has compiled an 11-0 record and looks to have all the tools required to carve out a successful career as a pro.

A superb technician, southpaw McComb is tall, rangy and light on his feet. Over the past two years he has displayed a slick ability to box off the back foot which will serve him well tonight because Gwynne is a front-foot battering ram who will be in his face from the first bell.

The Welshman can be out-boxed and out-manoeuvred and he will find McComb difficult to pin down but his gameplan will be to shake the former Holy Trinity ABC star out of his comfort zone and he’ll expect that, if he applies enough pressure, the Belfast man will plant his feet and trade and begin to make mistakes he can exploit.

Gwynne first challenged for this title in 2018 when he went the distance with fellow Welshman Joe Cordina. He lost on unanimous decision but looked capable of going 12 rounds with James Tennyson last year when the British title was up for grabs until Belfast’s ‘Assassin’ blasted him out in the sixth.

“He has a tight defence, he has long arms and he is able to cover up well and he throws a lot of punches,” McComb acknowledged before yesterday’s weigh-in.

“But I just know what I’m going to do, I know that I have been in against styles like his before and I know how to beat people like him. That where my experience will win this fight.

“To be honest I can beat him any way I want. Any way I want to fight him, I’ll fight him – I could go forward and stand toe-to-toe if I wanted. I can’t see one thing that he does better than me. I can’t see any area where he’s better.

“His punch technique is nowhere near as good as mine but he’s a good test and we’ll see after the fight where I stand.

“I’ve taken this step because I know how to deal with this guy. I’ve sparred people like him – sparring’s different from fighting obviously, but I’ll work on the same things and hopefully I’ll be victorious.”

Gwynne has been sparring with former IBF featherweight champion Lee Selby under the watchful eye of coach Tony Borg. Having boxed at this level twice already, he says justifiably that it is McComb who is making the step up in class tonight and he is fully confident that he’ll take the Commonwealth belt “back to the Valleys” with him.

“I am super fit and I don’t think he’s going to live with me for 12 rounds,” he said. “I think I’ll out-box him and I truly believe that I’m going to stop him. I think I’ll get to him and I think I’ll break him down.”

Gwynne has been able to train in nearby Newport but McComb, whose training is based in Scotland at Danny Vaughan’s gym, has had to fend for himself to an extent. Despite that he’s had a 16-week camp for this fight and made the weight comfortably.

“My strength has gone through the roof – I’m stronger at lightweight than I was at super-lightweight!” he explained.

“The sparring hasn’t been brilliant even though my preparation hasn’t been ideal because I haven’t been with Danny due to Covid restrictions and my daughter being born, so I’ve been in Belfast for a lot of this camp and I’ve trained with Mark Rooney (strength and conditioning coach) and I’ve done the boxing side of things myself.

“I’ve dealt with it well, I’ve ticked all the boxes and I believe I’ve had an amazing camp.”

He added: It’s definitely going to be a cracking fight.

“He’s going to throw a lot of punches, I’m going to throw a lot of punches. Tune in, it’s going to be a cracking fight – guaranteed.”

This will a good test for McComb – the most difficult of his career to date - and his performance will be an indication of how far he can go in this sport. Gwynne is tough and as game as they come at this level but he is limited and, if he retains his composure, you’d expect McComb to frustrate him, break him down and box his way to an impressive decision win.

Tonight’s card:

Vacant Commonwealth (British Empire) Lightweight title: Sean McComb (11-0) v Gavin Gwynne (12-2)

Vacant BBBofC English Welterweight title: Darren Tetley (20-1) v Samuel Antwi (12-1-0)

BBBofC Southern Area Super-Featherweight title: DP Carr (11-0-1) v Dean Dodge (9-0-1)

Welterweight: Elliot Whale (3-0) v Jamie Stewart (2-0-1)

Welterweight: Paddy Donovan (5-0) v Siar Ozgul (15-5)

Featherweight: Mark McKeown (3-0) v Brad Daws (6-0)

Super-light: Pierce O'Leary (5-0) v Irvin Magno (5-3-1)

Middleweight: Mohammed Sameer (1-0) Kearon Thomas (1-9-1)

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Boxing