Kotelnik ends Rees' dream
Welshman Gavin Rees lost his WBA light-welterweight title when he was stopped in the final minute of the 12th round by Andreas Kotelnik.
Last Updated: 23/03/08 11:53am
Welshman Gavin Rees lost his WBA light-welterweight title in Cardiff when he was stopped in the final minute of the 12th round by Andreas Kotelnik.
The previously undefeated Rees showed tremendous heart in almost taking it to the scorecards but the German-based Ukrainian was in charge from the early rounds and well ahead when the referee stepped in.
Rees, in his first defence of the title just over 12 months after his stunning defeat of Souleymane M'Baye, came out sharply and took the opening round on industry alone but the challenger was soon finding his range.
The Welshman's energy and bluster got the partisan crowd on its feet but Kotelnik was the more organised of the two and consistently caught the champion flush with jolting lefts and swinging right crosses.
Rees looked exhausted entering the second half of the fight with both eyes starting to close, but to his credit he kept coming forward if only to provide Kotelnik with something to aim at.
The champion was wilting badly in the final minute of the closing sessions allowing Kotelnik to pick his shots, with the left hook jolting the Welshman's head back on several occasions.
It was a question of whether he could make it to the final bell and he almost did - the referee bizarrely helping Rees to his feet after he crumpled to the canvas following a series of accurate punches from his opponent.
But the official soon realised the error of his actions, stepping in moments later with Rees out on his feet with less than 30 seconds left on the clock.
Kotelnik, whose two previous defeats include one to WBC champion Junior Witter almost three years ago, does not intend to unify the titles, instead wanting a big money match-up with Ricky Hatton.