'Now is the time to strike': Jordan Gill interview
Photo: Harriet Lander/Getty Images
Fresh from a dynamic victory on Saturday night, rising featherweight Jordan Gill speaks to Shaun Brown about his desire to entertain and why now is "the time to strike"...
Jordan ‘The Thrill’ Gill (23-0, 7 KOs) certainly lived up to his nickname in front of his home support in Peterborough last Saturday night.
The 24-year-old from Chatteris, near Peterborough, headlined his first show on Sky Sports, as part of Matchroom’s NXT GEN product, and was pitched in with Mexican Emmanuel Dominguez (24-8-2, 16 KOs), a year older than Gill, over 12 rounds for the vacant WBA International featherweight title.
The event and the night were a showcase for the Brit and within three rounds he gave the fans and his promoter Eddie Hearn exactly what they had hoped for.
“Everyone left the arena entertained,” Gill told Boxing Monthly on Monday. “I’m still buzzing really. It’s still fresh isn’t it. It was a good night, everyone had a good time and that’s the main thing.”
Gill dazzled as the top of the bill attraction, delivering a combination of patience and acceleration through the gears to prove that he does carry the power at the weight to become only the second man to stop Dominguez with the other being current WBO super bantamweight champion Emanuel Navarrete.
When Gill teamed up with trainer Dave Coldwell, one request from his new coach was that his new charge should sit down on his punches more. Since their partnership began in August 2017 Gill has stopped four of the seven opponents he has fought. His last two didn’t hear the final bell and, in the shape of Ryan Doyle [TKO 7 October 2018] and Dominguez, were deemed as stiffer tests.
“The last two, they’re renowned for being tough,” Gill remarked. “Doyle is a very tough guy, never got stopped at featherweight. The only person that stopped him was [James] Tennyson when he took it at short notice. And this guy I boxed in my last fight he was a tough Mexican.
"They breed them tough out there. His only stoppage loss is to Navarrete who is a world champion. I done it quicker. They’re both renowned for being tough and I have proved I can punch at this weight and, obviously, I’m 24 so I’m just starting to get my man strength and that’s showing.”
Walking to the ring, with the sound of Michael Jackson’s iconic hit ‘Thriller’ bellowing behind him, Gill had a look of intent and purpose about him. A lot of fighters will tell you that they want to go out and make a statement. The Commonwealth champion told BM that he wanted to put on a show.
“Like I said I think everyone left entertained and that’s what I went out there to do. I didn’t want to cruise to a points victory, and I didn’t want to have a 50-50 war. I wanted to go out and apply myself and make myself look good.”
This time last year Gill told BM in a previous interview that he was a little bit embarrassed about his unbeaten record having not had that litmus test that every boxer needs sooner rather than later. Having reminded him about his comments from early 2018, Gill’s remarks about his career as it stands in 2019 were a lot more positive!
“I feel a lot better. What a difference a year can make! I think everybody that I’ve boxed since the start of 2018, so from [Craig] Cunningham to the Irish kid [Carl McDonald] I boxed and [David] Berna then Doyle then this kid Dominguez, every single one of them had a winning record so the whole of 2018 onwards I’ve boxed people with winning records.
"So, I’m finally getting the credit I deserve, and I wanted to be beating these guys for a long time now, but you can’t cry over spilled milk. You can’t wish what could have happened, we can only move on, and I feel like I’m taking pivotal steps in becoming a world champion which is the ultimate goal.”
The goal is something that Gill, if he had his own way, would have in his own hands within the next 12 months. With momentum behind him, and the bonus of Eddie Hearn and Sky Sports, Gill wants to strike while the iron is hot. Kiko Martinez, the current European featherweight champion, and a familiar face to UK fight fans, has already been mentioned as a possible next opponent for Gill who believes he could box again in May.
But the lucrative names of world champions such as [WBA 'super' champion] Leo Santa Cruz and [IBF champion] Josh Warrington are already on his mind, as well as [WBA champion] Can Xu.
“I’ve been around a long time, but I feel like everything happens for a reason and timing’s everything. I think now is the time to strike and now is the time to attack the division and realistically I’m actually not even close to my prime. I think my prime will be around 27-28 years old so imagine how good I will be then.
“Everybody’s starting to take notice. Everybody’s starting to believe the hype and that’s what you want as a fighter because everyone wants recognition for all the hours and work, they put in the gym. And it’s nice to see it come to a point where you’re being rewarded for what you’re doing. It’s been a long road.”