By Johnny Walker
American heavyweight veteran Jason “The Sensation” Gavern is as game a fighter as they come.
Last time out, a well-prepared Gavern went into the lion’s den in Ukraine to take on undefeated Russian giant Alexander Ustinov, and for six rounds, more than held his own, often stinging the Russian with right hand leads.
In the seventh round, Gavern was hit with a rabbit punch, and wasn’t given proper time to recover, which sealed his fate. But the fans in attendance at the Sportpalace in Kharkov had been won over by Gavern’s brave performance by the time Ustinov’s hand was raised in victory.
Now back home on American soil, Gavern, 35, is looking for his next challenge, and badly wants a shot at Tony Grano, a Connecticut native who recently won the previously vacant NABF heavyweight championship with a knockout of the ageing and inactive DaVarryl “Touch of Sleep” Williamson.
“We’ve been going back and forth on Facebook,” Gavern says of Grano, who he says he’s on friendly terms with.
But friends or not, Gavern feels that in the squared circle, he is by far the superior fighter, and that Grano knows this as well.
“I sparred with Grano for his fight with [Brian] Minto,” Gavern tells Boxing Insider. “And even being out of shape, I beat him up – it wasn’t even close.”
“I read that Grano says he wants a six-figure payday for his next fight,” Gavern laughs. “He says he won’t make enough money fighting me.”
“Grano needs a reality check,” Gavern asserts.
“Somebody needs to tell him that when it comes to the heavyweight division, ‘You’re not The Man.’
Gavern also wants a chance to avenge some of the not-so-friendly insults Grano has directed his way.
“He says that fighting me is taking a backwards step,” Gavern says.
“Grano basically says I’m washed up, I’m a bum, so if that’s the case, why not fight me and get an easy title defense?”
Gavern says the NABF title should rightfully be his anyway. He fought for the belt in 2010 in Germany against top contender Johnathon Banks, a member of the Klitschko brothers’ K2 stable of fighters. The fight was ruled a split decision draw, but most objective observers saw Gavern as the rightful winner.
“Fighting in Germany [against one of K2’s boxers] and getting a draw, that should tell you I won,” Gavern says ruefully.
“I mean you can watch that fight ten times over, it wasn’t the prettiest fight, but it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, I still thought I had the ‘W.’”
Gavern says all he is asking for is a chance to get the title that he feels belongs to him, and he scoffs at Grano’s win over the shot Williamson.
“When I won my title [the WBC Caribbean Boxing Federation heavyweight title], I actually beat the champ, [Manuel] Quezada,” Gavern states.
“[Grano] didn’t beat anybody to get his title. Williamson is 43-years-old, and he hadn’t been active. Four or five years ago, he would have knocked Grano out!
“That title should be my title!
“Grano needs to stop making excuses and fight me!”
Finally, Gavern vows that should Grano relent and accept his challenge, he’ll walk away the winner, and do so in style.
“I’ll knock him out inside of six rounds,” Gavern vows.
Tony Grano, the ball is in your court.