Gavin McDonnell won’t wait for the world

Gavin McDonnell downs Jorge Sanchez
Gavin McDonnell downs Jorge Sanchez
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He has just won the biggest fight of his career and is in touching distance of a world title fight but Gavin McDonnell wants more – and quickly.

McDonnell is now the WBC Silver super bantamweight champion after convincingly outpointing the tough Jorge Sanchez in Manchester last weekend.

Gavin McDonnell lands a body shot against Jorge Sanchez

Gavin McDonnell lands a body shot against Jorge Sanchez

And the Dunscroft fighter also now has a victory in a world title eliminator and the very real prospect of a world title fight before the end of 2016.

So he has no intentions of easing off and is demanding another fight as soon as possible.

“All I want now is the next date and I don’t want to be waiting around for it,” he told the Free Press.

“Not knowing will drive me crazy. I need to work towards something, whatever it might be.

Gavin McDonnell goes on the attack against Jorge Sanchez

Gavin McDonnell goes on the attack against Jorge Sanchez

“It might be a world title fight, it might be a final eliminator, it might be a very good opponent who is going to test me and keep me ticking over.

“I’m not too bothered who it is, I just want a fight.

“I’ll take this week off, maybe do a bit in the gym with our kid (twin brother Jamie who will fight on April 9 in London), and then I’m off to Lanzarote with the family for a week.

“But when I get back I want to know quickly what I’ll be doing next.”

It would be easy for a fighter to rest on his laurels after a performance like the one McDonnell turned in on Saturday night.

He masterfully dealt with the rough and tumble nature of Panamanian Sanchez who consistently looked to walk forward and bowl in with the big shots.

From the first bell, McDonnell made full use of his considerable height advantage to established the jab and rarely abated as he kept Sanchez at bay. And his defences were superb, taking most of Sanchez’s shots on his arms and gloves while ducking and moving around the ring.

There was a hint of a statement stoppage against a tough opponent when he sent him tumbling to the canvas in the second round with a picture perfect right hand.

But he remained disciplined and did not chase a knockout after Sanchez rose to his feet. The South American hurt him with a hook in a third but that was a lone nervy moment for McDonnell.

As his control on the fight only grew, the 29-year-old began popping shots to the body. While Sanchez’s efforts rarely waned, he simply had no answer to the questions McDonnell was asking for him.

Sanchez was rocked by a lovely shot on the counter but again McDonnell stayed composed and saw out the fight in the comfortable manner reflected by the scorecards which read 119-108, 118-109 and 118-110.

The thrills were in the skill of McDonnell and he makes no apologies for the lack of blockbuster action over the 12 rounds.

He said: “People might have thought it was a bit boring but I’m there to win not to entertain.

“I’ll do whatever I need to do to get the win. I don’t want to be in wars, I want to be a champion.

“I was in control and I just kept doing what I was doing.

“I thought he might tire because he’d not been that distance before but he kept coming so fair play to him.

“There was no point in taking any risks when I was in control.”

His giant stride towards a world title came on British boxing’s biggest fight night over the last couple of years as super bantamweight world champions Scott Quigg and Carl Frampton met in a highly-anticipated unification bout.

The atmosphere was bone-shaking in Manchester Arena for the main event and the vast majority of punters were in their seats for McDonnell’s fight in the chief support slot, giving him a fantastic reception.

He said: “It wasn’t until I watched it back that I realised how many people were in there.

“I got a big cheer when I came out and when I won the fight which was great.

“It was funny because I hardly had any nerves for this one, despite it being in front of by far the biggest crowd of my career.

“You usually worry about where you might have cut corners and then the nerves just grow from there.

“But we haven’t cut any corners at all so there was nothing to worry about and I was pretty relaxed.

“I’m almost certain I’ll not fight in front of a crowd that big in my next fight so it’s one ticked off for me.

“I enjoyed it.”

The road to a world title fight looked smooth for McDonnell if he got past Sanchez.

The WBC champion heading into Saturday night was Julio Ceja, the man Jamie McDonnell beat for the IBF bantamweight title in 2013.

But Ceja was somewhat surprisingly stopped in the first round of his defence against Hugo Ruiz in California.

McDonnell believed a fight with Ceja would have been easy to make but believes he is more likely to have to go down the hard route to face Ruiz.

“With Ceja we had that thing of him maybe wanting a bit of revenge against the McDonnells,” he said.

“I’m sure he’d have fancied beating Jamie’s brother to make up for what happened a couple of years ago.

“But that’s off the cards now he’s got beat.

“I’m not sure this Ruiz will want to fight me. I admit that I don’t bring a lot to the table so there’s not a great deal in it for him.

“Unless he gets offered some decent money to come over here and defend against me, I can’t see him doing it.

“So I’ll probably have to go through a final eliminator and that will be against a top class kid.

“But I’m not bothered about that. I want to do it the hard way. I want to earn my chance and earn that world title.”

All McDonnell has to do now is battle against the buffets and booze on holiday next week.

“It’s all inclusive so the temptation is there,” he said.

“But I’m going to make sure I do a session a day, whether it’s a decent run or something, just to keep a level on it.

“I don’t want to be having to claw a lot back. I’d balloon up in the past but I don’t want to be doing that.

“My mindset has changed. I’m just focused on getting as far as I can and I’ll do whatever it takes.”