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Gavin Rees to Defend Title Against Anthony Mezaache

Gavin Rees is set to defend his European lightweight title against Anthony Mezaache in Paris on March 23, with the fight being shown live on Sky Sports.

Rees, now 31, won the vacant title in June when he defeated Andy Murray in Cardiff. The Welshman's first defence ended up a draw after his opponent Derry Matthews sustained a broken nose after a clash of heads in the fourth round.

Rees' trainer Gary Lockett said:

"Gavin has been in the gym on and off since the Matthews fight. The Gavin Rees of old is long gone, he's grown up a lot and he knows that being out of the gym when you haven't got a fight is not my way. So he's been training hard and he looks in fantastic shape - I wish the fight was this week really as he looks superb. But we will be very ready for March 23rd and it's going to be a great occasion to fight in France.

"Gavin is a different animal today. In the last six months I've been able to get across to him what I want him to do and that's the main challenge when you are a new fighter-trainer team, and Gavin is reaping the benefits now that the communication is perfect. Gavin has slowed himself down and he's working at the pace I want him to."

Back in 2007, Rees won the WBA Lightweight title but faces a bit of a test going to Mezaache's home city of Paris. Mezaache is no stranger to the European belt, having won it previously from Jon Thaxton. The 33-year-old Frenchman claimed the vacant WBA Inter-Continental and IBF International belts in April (at same venue he'll face Rees), and then followed that up with a win there in December which now takes him to 21 wins from 30 fights.

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