Gavin Gwynne produced the performance of his career as he claimed the Commonwealth lightweight title, keeping Sean McComb under endless pressure until he turned his back in the seventh round in Bolton.

Gwynne lost on points to fellow Welshman Joe Cordina in 2019 and was than hurt and stopped by James Tennyson for the British lightweight title last summer. But there was no denying him in his third title attempt. He dominated McComb, taking the fight to the Irishman, physically beating him up and, while McComb tried to box, Gwynne would not give him a moment’s peace.

“I’m speechless,” Gwynne said. “I put so much into this camp, I was super fit, no one was going to beat me. I could have been in with any world-class fighter and I wouldn’t have stopped. And that was only first gear. Tony {Borg, his trainer] told me ‘don’t go up a gear, wait until he starts tiring’. But I didn’t have to.

“I knew I couldn’t stay on the backfoot with him. He was a world-class amateur, I couldn’t outbox him, I had to take it to him and take him out of his stride, then cut him up. I cut him in the first and I knew that would play on him, then I cut him in the second. Then I started going to work and started landing big shots. 

“Fair play to him, he stayed on his feet. I caught him with a big right on top of the head and he turned. I can’t find the words for how much this means to me.”

Gwynne said he had been motivated by his defeats to Cordina and Tennyson.

“When I was running the roads I was thinking about those fights and what I could have done differently,” he said.

“The Cordina fight I got outskilled and Tennyson is a world-level fighter. They were good learning fights and I knew Sean hadn’t been stepped up, so I knew this would be tough for him. I thought if I put it on him, he would crumble.”

McComb began well, beating Gwynne to the punch in the first, but he ended the round with a cut over the right eye, however, the result of a clash of heads on the ropes.

Gwynne took control in the second round, though, forcing McComb backwards and he hurt him with a hard right to the body. 

Gwynne dominated the third as he bulled McComb backwards and while McComb did better in the fourth, as he gained some space between them, Gwynne battered him backwards in the fifth, until a stray elbow resulted in a bad cut on the back of Gwynne’s head.

If McComb moved, he looked good and he drew Gwynne onto his shots in the sixth round. But he suffered another cut on his left cheek and as he fell to the floor in Gwynne’s corner, it was ruled a slip, but he looked tired. Gwynne finished the round strong, pounding McComb backwards into his own corner as the Irishman slumped on his stool at the end.

Gwynne would not give him a moment’s rest. In the seventh round, Gwynne pursued him around the ring, pounding away to head and body. Gwynne moved back and tried to spark some retaliation, but he could not stop Gwynne’s advance.

When McComb stood still, Gwynne opened up, clubbing away with both hands. There was one more act of defiance, as McComb unloaded with six punches to Gwynne’s body. He walked through the lot and as he pounded away on McComb again, the Irishman turned his back, forcing referee Steve Gray to stop the fight at 2:09 of the seventh round.

Ron Lewis is a senior writer for BoxingScene. He was Boxing Correspondent for The Times, where he worked from 2001-2019 - covering four Olympic Games and numerous world title fights across the globe. He has written about boxing for a wide variety of publications worldwide since the 1980s.