York Hall - Gavin Gwynne (17-2-1, 5 KO’s) added the European lightweight championship to his British title, averting a near disaster to beat Italian veteran Emiliano Marsili (42-1-1, 16 KO’s).
47 year old Marsili would have become the oldest fighter to ever win the European belt with a win and put in an outstanding display before a serious shoulder injury forced him to withdraw after eight rounds.
The Welshman set a high pace from the start, forcing Marsili to work at an uncomfortable pace but got the shock of his life midway through the first when he walked directly into a perfectly thrown southpaw left hook. The punch shook Gwynne to his boots but he stayed on his feet.
Gwynne continued his tactics of pressing forward in the second. The aim will have been to wear down Marsili and slow him down but he was struggling mightily to pin the constantly moving Marsili down. He did land a couple of decent right hands as the Italian allowed himself to get caught on the ropes but through two rounds, the Italian was putting in a remarkable display.
Gwynne made it more of a fight in the third, planting himself on Marsili’s chest and working him over. Too often, Gwynne parked himself directly in front of Marsili, presenting an inviting target for the Italian to aim two handed flurries at. The both emerged with facial damage, Marsili with a cut over his left eye after an accidental clash of heads and Gwynne with some blood from the nose.
Marsili got on his toes in the fourth, potshotting Gwynne with his southpaw jab and letting harder accurate combinations go. Gwynne was just too inactive, walking into range with his hands up and allowing the Italian to get his shots off. Whether it was all part of a ploy to take the fight late only Gwynne and his team know.
Gwynne made it an inside fight in the fifth but giving away all his physical advantages gave Marsili the opportunity land crisp, clean counters. Gwynne was setting a high pace but - incredibly - Marsili was more than matching him. Even more impressively he was the more accurate fighter.
Gwynne seemed as bewildered as most viewers. He slowly paced around the ring in the sixth, allowing Marsili easy escape routes and giving him the opportunity to throw punches and move away. Not many of them were landing but by the midway point, Marsili had exactly the fight he wanted.
An embarrassing night had now become an official crisis for the Welshman. and Gwynne started the seventh well, finally pinning Marsili on the ropes and punished Marsili from range rather than falling in. Marsili though was more than happy to exchange punches, proven by the fact that he was able to disengage and move away whenever he wanted to.
Gwynne was now managing to keep Marsili pinned to the ropes more and more regularly. There was precious little method to what was undoubtedly madness but he had committed to walking Marsili down. He paid a price for his efforts, leaving the round with a cut under his right eye.
Amazingly that was the end of the action. In between rounds Marsili’s corner called the referee over and withdrew their man, his shoulder clearly badly injured.
Gwynne wins the European title and will campaign for bigger fights but the remarkable Marsili was the story of the night. He lost for the first time in a 20 year career. He was ahead on two scorecards when the fight ended.