Queensbury British middleweight champion Gareth Gardner has vowed to return better than ever after losing his unbeaten record in a dramatic night at the the competitions season finale on Saturday night.
The Queensbury Boxing League star, who had built an eleven-fight winning streak since making his league debut in 2011, won his first two contests of the eight-man Reisser Quest Knockout Tournament before losing a thrilling final against Grays contender Tey Lynn-Jones.
Reflecting on a hard night’s work, the 30 year-old carpenter and roofer admitted to being “sore all over” but was philosophical about his first loss in league.
“I’ve lost fights in the amateurs so this is nothing new. It happens. As we say where I train at Juggernauts Gym, you don’t lose, you learn!”
Gardner admitted that the six-month layoff after his last contest left him ring rusty for his quarterfinal match against Bradley Spencer.
“The first fight was terrible. I’d been out for a long time so I was struggling with my timing. He was tricky to pin down and kept backing off so I just had to grind out the result.”
“The semi-final match against John Hefford felt a lot better, but again it was a hard match. You could tell he had prepared but I had my head right this time and boxed to my ability, continued Gardner.
Having overcome Romford’s Hefford in a fight of the year contender, Gardner then had to dust himself down to face the 21 year-old Lynn-Jones, who had swept aside all before him in his first four Queensbury contests.
“My left ear was damaged in the Hefford fight and when Tey caught me on it in the first round, it felt like it had exploded. There’s no excuse, it just hurt!
“The second round was close and he maybe worked harder in the last. I’ll have to watch it again as you don’t know what’s happening when you’re in there.”
The heart-breaking defeat to the tall, rangy Lynn-Jones has convinced Gardner that his future lies in the lighter divisions, and 2016 will see Gardner move down a division.
“You look at some of these lads and they are coming down from thirteen stone or more, while I was eating my way up. I’ve had a good run overcoming the disadvantages but I see myself now at light-middle or even welterweight.
“I’ve got another three years left at this so you haven’t seen the last of me yet. I’d like to thank Queensbury for putting on such a great show, and also my friends and supporters for sticking by me. It really means a lot.”