Looking for a step up: Jordan Gill interview

Shaun Brown
24/02/2018 6:45am

Jordan Gill tells Boxing Monthly's Shaun Brown that he is aching for a "step up" in class, starting with his British featherweight title eliminator against Jason Cunningham on Sunday...

You will not hear many fighters say they are a bit embarrassed of their unbeaten record.

Particularly when they have had 18 fights, a number that can lead one to assume that they are at British title level or maybe even past that stage.

Jordan Gill (18-0, 4 KOs) describes his as such because of who he has fought and never having had that 'step up' where important questions about his future are answered.

On paper, quite evidently, that jump up in level comes tomorrow night at the Victoria Warehouse Hotel in Manchester against lefty Jason Cunningham (23-4, 6 KOs) in a British featherweight title eliminator.

"I've not really boxed anyone, have I?" said Gill when Boxing Monthly asked him who he thought his toughest opponent was to date.

"I wanted to step up a long time ago. The politics of the sport... people don't see how much it takes to get to this point. I never really consider myself as an 18-0 fighter because the guys that I've boxed you could box in your first six fights and then move on. After this fight I feel like I'll be a bit more justified, and I can push on with my career because this will be a good win and a good breakthrough."

And in answering the original question, the 23-year-old from Chatteris said: "Probably my toughest test was Barrington Brown (6-13-3, 2 KOs). I boxed him on a Kell Brook undercard and he came in good shape. He was very clever. The first sort of clever boxer I ever fought. I won every round but he made me think."

Jason Cunningham should give him plenty to think about on Sunday night. The 28-year-old Yorkshireman, who took Kal Yafai the 12-round distance (at super flyweight) three years ago is a former Commonwealth champion at 126lbs. Cunningham also asked some serious questions of Matchroom prospect Reece Bellotti before the Watford man's equalising power saw him pass his litmus test in the sixth round, taking Commonwealth honours in the process.

"It's a hard measure because everyone thought he [Cunningham] was winning the fight and I thought he was," said Gill when asked how much he took away to his advantage when watching his next opponent against Bellotti.

"I thought he was boxing quite well. You can't think you're going to knock him out, like Reece Bellotti, because he is actually a tough kid. He was out-boxing Reece. I personally feel like I'm a better boxer. I'm just going to stick to my boxing and see what he brings, but I think I'll out-box him."

Gill joined forces with trainer Dave Coldwell last August and is already reaping the rewards. Learning every day, being educated on how to get the best out of his attributes and training in an environment filled with personality and vast experience in the shape of Tony Bellew, Jamie and Gavin McDonnell and Anthony Fowler.

Coldwell wanted Gill to sit down on his punches more when they began working together. Something that was apparent in the way that Gill put away Jordan Ellison last September in a six-round contest. Gill is punching with intent and attacking with conviction, and is ready to take his place on the starry stage of Sky Sports to show why he is one of British boxing's best kept secrets.

"It's annoying for me because I don't want to be a secret," said Gill. "I try to be quite humble, but a lot of people do say to me that I'm the best kept secret in British boxing. I want to be out on the big stage. It's going to happen. The years and years of hard work are going to pay off at some point.

"It's not been easy to keep persevering and keep training as hard as I do every day when there's nothing on the horizon, or when you're not getting the chances or not getting the opportunities. It's all done now and I'm getting the chances, and that's why it's important I make sure I do a job."

The lights, the cameras and the action of it all shouldn't faze Gill tomorrow night. Having been the top two in England every year as an amateur, he also found himself sparring Jorge Linares in Las Vegas at just 19-years-old, as well as Lee Selby, Ryan Burnett and the McDonnell brothers which has built up an inner confidence that came out in this interview.

"I've got to look good in this fight and it's going to open doors for me," he said of his opportunity in 24 hours' time.

"The Reece Bellotti fight is a fight that I want. We're not scared of Reece Bellotti at all. These are the fights we want, we want the big fights and to do them I've got to perform on the big stage, in front of the cameras, and do a job on all these guys.

"If your goal is to become a world champion then every fight you have is a world title eliminator, because you have to eliminate these people to get to your goal. That's the way I see it. I wouldn't be in boxing if I didn't think I could be a world champion because there's plenty of easier ways to make money."