Now the boxing world knows why welterweight champion Danny Garcia priced himself out of a proposed matchup with Sam Eggington (19-3, 11 KO) last month after the Birmingham brawler beat the excellent Frankie Gavin (23-3, 14 KO) into the ground on Saturday.
A “Savage” by name and nature, Eggington upset the betting odds in Round 8 when he let loose one final two-handed blitz onto his fellow Brummie that forced Gavin to curl into fetal position and a referee stoppage.
The 23-year-old Englishman never took his foot off the pedal and his whirling attack mirrored what Sky Sports commentary could only describe as a “British [Antonio] Margarito.”
Gavin, a former title challenger and Britain’s first ever amateur world champion, actually failed to make weight for what would have been a bid for the WBC International welterweight strap. Nonetheless, he earned himself the first two rounds as he plugged right hands into his opponent’s midsection at will, shielding himself behind his right shoulder from a stalking Eggington.
But momentum shifted drastically in the opening moments of Round 3 when Eggington fired a searing right hand at Gavin’s chin to sit the former Olympian on his behind. The two closed out the period with some brutal exchanges, bringing the partisan crowd at the Barclaycard Arena to their feet.
The 31-year-old Gavin was reinvigorated and ready to fight in the fourth and fifth stanza. There’s typically a level of irony to the silky southpaw’s “Funtime” moniker, but with an assailant like Eggington breathing down his neck, a proper scrap was inevitable.
“I’ve never seen him throw so many punches,” Matchroom Boxing promoter extraordinaire Eddie Hearn said of Gavin after the fight via iFL TV. “And Sam made him do it.”
Hearn continued to say the sixth round was one of the best he’s ever seen.
That’s when Eggington’s hyper aggression finally began to do Gavin in, driving him into the ropes repeatedly. Among a shower of punches from Eggington, one left hook sank into Gavin’s body and folded him over for another eight count from the referee.
The seventh period saw Gavin try to get his feet wet again but Eggington caught up with him. And again for good in the fateful eighth round.
The “Savage” has made up for dropping a points verdict to the fine Bradley Skeete just this year and two early Prizefighter tournament losses in 2013 and ’14. It’s not a bad turnaround for only turning professional four years ago when he needed extra scratch on the table — back then, a teenage father with a mere 31 amateur bouts to his name. Meanwhile, Gavin enjoyed a standout amateur career, winning 100 of his 121 contests. But when the lights went on, none of that mattered.
Overweight and outgunned, Gavin fell to a bulldog in fight gloves. It was just Gavin’s second knockout loss as a professional. The first, to IBF titleholder Kell Brook.
With Brook’s future at 147 pounds up in the air, last competing at middleweight, Eggington is the most prominent welterweight in Hearn’s stable. The Englishman is ready for a step up in class beyond the domestic scene. He’s primed for world-class exposure.
Skeete, 29, is on the precipice of fighting at the elite level too. He soundly outboxed Eggington earlier this year but dropped a points decision to Gavin before that. While Skeete is busy amusing himself with domestic challenges — meeting Shayne Singleton next month, who Eggington already pelted down to size in five rounds last year—Eggington can get a jump on his rival by capitalizing on this recent KO win.
Matchroom Boxing has established a terrific relationship with Al Haymon’s Premier Boxing Champions promotion. There’s an entire crop of welterweights across the pond in the United States to fight. Eggington should cash out with any of them before the entire PBC operation goes under.
Eggington is ready. A sizable welter, he can punch and does so in ruthless, unrelenting fashion. After catching a superstar like Danny Garcia’s attention in September, the Birmingham local has now managed his way into fight fan’s collective consciousness. And, above all else, the kid comes to bang.
Even against a complex technician like Gavin, Eggington proved once again, he can drag a scrap out of anyone.