Golden Gavin eyes boxing glory
Frankie Gavin was in such bad way his body was breaking down and his Olympic dream was simultaneously turning to dust.
Great Britain's first World amateur champion was the golden boy going to Beijing but before he could throw a punch in anger he was on a plane home with his amateur career in tatters.
Making weight has always been the delicate art that has made or broken many a fighter. Gavin revealed that he had gambled in Chicago in 2007 and come out on top at the World Championships when claiming lightweight gold but 12 months is a long time when your fighting the scales.
The likeable young light-welterweight, part of the supporting bill to Martin Rogan's exciting Commonwealth heavyweight title defence with Sam Sexton on May 15 at the Odyssey Arena, went out to the training camp ahead of the Games and knew he was on a loser.
Gavin, whose dad Patrick hails from Londonderry and his mum from Tipperary, still feels the pain of that Olympic nightmare even though he has started out on the pursuit of professional glory.
"I was at the training camp two weeks before the Olympics when I pulled out. I was 10st and I couldn't shift the weight I needed to. I rang the Great Britain coach Terry Edwards and told him I couldn't do it. They had a press conference and said I had the flu but I didn't, I couldn't do the weight," said Gavin.
"I didn't want to go to China but I went and it got so bad I was passing blood. I pulled out. There's no point getting knocked out by someone I had beaten before. Just before the Games I won gold at light-welterweight and beat the reigning European champion.
"When I walked away from Beijing there wasn't an ounce of fat on me. I was so ripped the veins were coming out of me, I was starving myself. I had done everything I could but it just wasn't going to happen. I was dead at the weight."
It had all been so different in Chicago when few believed he was going to rule the world.
"I felt I was capable of winning a medal. I had been doing well, beating good people but not once did I think I would get gold.
"Going into the final I wasn't nervous because the nervous fight was the one I needed to win to get Olympic qualification. I just went out and did my best and won gold."
And he’s not the only success story in his family.
He explained: “My girlfriend Ria plays gaelic football and they have just won the British title with her team John Mitchell’s.
“I love the gaelic football and we always watch it on the TV.”
Growing up in Birmingham wasn’t always easy for Gavin and in order to focus on his career he has hooked up with coach Anthony Farnell and moved to Manchester.
“I’m not worried how long it takes to get to a title. If they say wait three years fine but I look at the champions and I know I can beat them all but I don’t have the experience,” added Gavin.
“I think right now I’d give Ricky Hatton a good fight over four rounds. But over 12 rounds it would be be different.
“It’s about living the life over the next five or six years.”
And with the guidance of promoter Frank Warren he plans more golden moments just like in Chicago.
Meanwhile, David Haye believes there could be no better time to fight IBF/WBO heavyweight champion Wladimir Klitschko than now.
The Hayemaker is grateful for the chance to challenge the Ukrainian star in front of 60,000 fans at Schalke's famous football ground on June 20.
"If I did not fight Wladimir now, he would never fight me," said Haye.
"I would keep knocking people out like I have done all my career and he would just keep running away from me. He fights people who are over the hill and finished.
"He thinks I am a small guy from cruiserweight but on June 20 he will find out that I am a real heavyweight."
Tickets for the Odyssey show from the Odyssey Box Office: 028 9073 9074.