GAVIN Rees is focused on winning a world title in 2012, but first he needs to beat a man developing a fatal attraction towards him.
Rees, 31, defends his European title this Saturday in Sheffield against Liverpool’s Derry Mathews in a grudge rematch.
The pair clashed in 2011but the fight was waved off in the fourth session after Mathews suffered a cut nose, resulting in the first draw of Rees’ professional career.
It had appeared Rees would move onwards and upwards from that fight but, after he thrillingly won the British title from Anthony Crolla, Mathews has put himself back in the picture.
Training in Scotland and living in a one-bedroom bedsit without a television, Mathews is thinking about Rees morning, noon and night as he bids to take the Newbridge punchers’ title.
“People think I’m in a luxury apartment but I’m in a basic flat with no telly,” he said.
“I’ve got to knuckle down and do it the hard way.
“When I first went up to Scotland I said to Danny (Vaughan, trainer) that I would book myself in a hotel for 10 weeks.
“He said ‘you won’t. You’re doing it my way’. He wants me to live the hard way, I’ve got no telly and the only telly I’ve got to watch is when I call in to his and we’re watching Gavin Rees.”
Mathews insists that he’s never been more motivated for a fight than for this one.
“I’m hungrier than for the Crolla fight,” he said.
“I’ve enjoyed the publicity that has come from the Crolla fight and what has come from it. So I know beating Gavin Rees will keep that going.
“That’s why I’m hungry for it, I’m starving to be honest.
“That is what is making me more determined going into the gym and I already feel fitter because I’ve come off a good fight with Crolla.”
Mathews believes the public are keen to see the long-awaited rematch.
“Rees is a massive fight,” Mathews told World Boxing News.
“I took the Rees fight because I like testing myself. I could have fought anyone in the top ten but I would be kidding the public.
“This game is about taking chances and fighting the best and that’s what I have always done.”
Rees’ trainer Gary Lockett insists his camp have done nowhere near the same level of obsessing.
“We know all about Derry, we respect him and his ability and he’s coming off the back of an excellent win over Crolla,” he said.
“But ultimately he should be more worried about Gavin because Gavin is a class above Derry.
“We are confident, training has gone very well and Gavin is ready to get that ‘W’ after the frustration of what happened last time out.”