Frankie Gavin: Chris van Heerden bout could 'set career alight'

Frankie Gavin
Frankie Gavin (right) won his last fight with previously-undefeated Bradley Skeete by unanimous decision in November

World title hopeful Frankie Gavin is billing his forthcoming fight with with Chris van Heerden in Birmingham on 9 May as the biggest of his career.

The 29-year-old will challenge the South African IBF international welterweight champion in his home city

"This could set my professional career alight. I'm going to win this fight, definitely," he told BBC WM 95.6.

Before Gavin meets van Heerden, he has a warm-up against Serbia's Bogdan Mitic in Sheffield on Saturday.

Former world amateur lightweight champion Gavin will appear on the undercard of Kell Brook's IBF world welterweight title defence against Jo Jo Dan at the Motorpoint Arena.

And he hopes it will not be long before he is in line for a world title shot himself.

Back to Brum for Funtime Frankie
Birmingham-born Frankie Gavin has fought twice before as a professional in his home town. The Birmingham City fan won on his pro debut with a fourth-round stoppage of George Kadaria at the National Indoor Arena in February 2009. He then beat Sheffield's Michael Kelly in the fifth round for the vacant Irish light welterweight title at the LG Arena in September 2010.

"If I win in Sheffield and then in Birmingham, I want to fight the winner of Paulie Malignaggi v Gianluca Branco for the European title or a final eliminator, and then Brook before the year is out," he said.

"I am in a very tough fight against Van Heerden in Birmingham, but I will have the home crowd behind me and a lot of support.

"I need to go out there and grab the chance with both hands. It will be the first time I have headlined in Birmingham, so it is going to be great for me."

Southpaw Gavin has a record of 21 wins and just one loss since turning professional following the 2008 Olympics.

That setback came last August when he lost his European welterweight title to Leonard Bundu on a split decision, but he is confident that the same fate will not befall him when he steps into the ring with 27-year-old Van Heerden, who has won 22 of his 24 contests.

"He's good, he's very good - he trains alongside Manny Pacquaio and Miguel Cotto so he knows what he's doing," said Gavin. "But at the same time I'm going to be at home in Birmingham and nothing's stopping me."