Boxing


Johnathon Banks May Defend His NABF Heavyweight Title Against Jason Gavern On Klitschko-Sosnowski Card

by James Slater - Since his move up to heavyweight in June of last year, former IBF cruiserweight title challenger Johnathon banks of Detroit has been rolling along nicely; winning four straight fights at or around the 224-pound mark. Last time out, on the under-card of Wladimir Klitschko's dramatic, last-round KO of "Fast" Eddie Chambers, the 27-year-old scored his biggest heavyweight win yet, as he stopped the dangerous Travis "Freight Train" Walker in quite sensational fashion in the 6th-round. Improving to 24-1(17) overall, Banks also won the NABF heavyweight belt..

Having boxed on a couple of Klitschko under-cards in the past (Banks has spent long weeks in training camps with both Wladimir and Vitali, sparring untold rounds with both men), Banks looks set to do so again at the end of May, when Boxrec.com have him down as defending his NABF strap against the useful Jason Gavern on the Vitali Klitschko-Albert Sosnowski card set for May 29th in Germany.

A decent fight, and another decent test for Banks as he further acclimatises to the heavyweight division, Banks-Gavern could be a fun fight to watch.

33-year-old Gavern, nicknamed "The Sensation" and 19-7-3(8) as a pro, is coming off the biggest win of his career. Back in April, the warrior who lives in Florida upset the touted Manuel Quezada via ten-round spilt decision in an entertaining affair in California. The heavy-handed Quezada had only recently taken out the aforementioned "Freight Train" inside a single round, and he was expected to keep his winning steak going against Gavern. Instead, the 32-year-old was out-fought and banged up a little by Gavern and the underdog scored a win that made him very happy indeed. Can Gavern now upset Banks too?

Banks has stuck to a game-plan that has seen him stay active, boxing every three months since his move up in weight. Having settled at a solid-looking 224-pounds, the man who was formerly managed by Emanuel Steward has looked both impressive and somewhat ordinary when facing the big guys. The Walker stoppage was impressive, Banks' dull points win over Javier Mora (on the under-card of Vitali Klitschko-Chris Arreola) was not. Guilty, as he later admitted to himself, of being a little lazy against Mora, Banks must step it up against Gavern, or he will run the risk of being out-fought by the gutsy 33-year-old the same way Quezada was.

There is no question Banks is the far classier boxer compared to the approx 230-pound Gavern, having been well and truly in world class during his now six-year pro career. However, if he is at all lackadaisical on May 29th, the raw courage and desire belonging to the older man could cause him severe problems. Banks must be sharp and he must unload the type of shots he dispatched Walker with back in March. Gavern has a solid chin, and he has only been stopped one time in his seven-year pro career - by hot Russian prospect Denis Boytsov last October (KO by 7).

Banks, then, would make at least something of a statement if he did manage to get his fourth stoppage as a heavyweight. Scheduled for 12-rounds, as the NABF belt is on the line, I can see Banks having to go the distance in order to get the win. While a KO can never be ruled out, I go for the man who has only been beaten by Tomasz Adamek (who, of course, is also now a heavyweight; and one who Banks would love a return match with) to win a clear decision in what will hopefully be an exciting fight.

Gavern will bring the heat, Banks will bring the boxing skill and class.

Article posted on 14.05.2010



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