Boxing

Defeat was a 'bump in the road' says Sean McComb after loss to Gavin Gwynne

Gavin Gwynne had lost two title challenges before he beat Sean McComb to win the Commonwealth lightweight title
Andy Watters

SEAN McComb says his loss was “a bump in the road” after he fell short in his bid to become Commonwealth lightweight champion on Friday night and the 28-year-old from Turf Lodge did enough to show that he can bounce back from his loss to Gavin Gwynne.

Skilful McComb landed some terrific shots in the fight and looked the more talented boxer by a distance at times but he was overwhelmed by the relentless, by-any-means-necessary ferocity of Welshman Gwynne who had benefitted from the experience of having lost twice in previous title challenges.

McComb settled quickly and picked off Gwynne, crouching behind a high guard, as he bulldozed forward in the first round. However the Belfast man was cut over his right eye by a clash of heads at the end of the round and Gwynne hurt him with a thumping body shot in the second.

The Merthyr Tydfil scrapper is rough and tough and he made McComb work hard for every moment of success he had over the next four stanzas. When he had space to pivot, move and get his shots off, McComb looked impressive but he could not keep Gwynne at bay and the Welshman's suffocating pressure inevitably paid off when a desperately tired, bloodied and bruised McComb called it a day near the end of the seventh.

The defeat is a setback and it was a harsh lesson for McComb on the realities of professional boxing. The step up came too soon for him but it's certainly not beyond him to bounce back from the loss and for inspiration he needs only to look at what Gwynne has achieved, or the career of James Tennyson who put three stoppage losses behind him and battered the Welshman in his previous fight.

“Massive congratulations to Gavin Gwynne on becoming Commonwealth champion,” said McComb yesterday.

“He's a top man and a hard guy - no excuses I'm a boxer who went toe-to-toe with a fighter and we all know what happened. I watched the fight back and it was a cracker - no one gets in the ring and fights for you, it's the loneliest sport in the world for sure but I have a caring team have around me MTK Global. A bump in the road is all it is.”

Gwynne had predicted that he would stop McComb and he proved that was no idle boast. The Tony Borg-trained fighter had vowed to bring the belt “back to the Valleys” and, after the previous disappointments in his career, few could begrudge him his success.

"I'm speechless and I don't know what to say. I put so much into this camp. Nobody was going to beat me, no world class fighter was going to stop me,” Gwynne said afterwards.

"We know Sean is a class amateur and I couldn't outbox him. I had to take it to him, I started going to work and putting my shots together. Fair play to him he stayed on his feet but we got the win and I can't put into words how much it means.

"I've had big fights but it was the first time that Sean had really stepped up, so I knew this was going to be tough for him. This will be my boy's belt now."

On the undercard, there were wins for Dubliner Pierce O'Leary and Andy Lee-trained Limerick prospect Paddy Donovan who stopped Siar Ozgul.

"Ozgul brought a big challenge, but my skill and brain overcame that challenge well,” said Donovan. "The plan now is to just keep working hard and improving. I want to try and get to 10-0 by the end of the year and then challenge for a title."

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Boxing