Pride should outweigh disappointment for Gavin McDonnell

Gavin McDonnell cannot hide his disappointment after defeat in his WBC super bantamweight title fight. Picture: PA
Gavin McDonnell cannot hide his disappointment after defeat in his WBC super bantamweight title fight. Picture: PA
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He gave his all, but it was not enough.

That Gavin McDonnell did not wake up this morning as WBC super bantamweight champion should by no means dent his pride however.

Every last ounce of energy was put into his attempt to best Rey Vargas in Hull on Saturday night.

But for anyone to beat Vargas, on this evidence, will take a special effort.

McDonnell can still be labelled special though.

His journey to a world title shot is one of the most remarkable stories in recent boxing history.

And the effort he produced in his shot at world glory was phenomenal.

He did not stop from the first bell to the last, even when it became clear to all, including himself, that it was not going to be his night.

McDonnell took everything Vargas had to throw at him and kept on pushing forwards.

Cagey in the early stages - with the power Vargas used to end 22 of his 28 fights early clearly in mind - McDonnell allowed the Mexican to establish control.

Though he showed some strong defensive work and smart counter punching, he was not doing enough to prevent Vargas from edging the rounds.

As the fight moved through the middle rounds, it looked as though Vargas would be coasting to a dominant victory, maybe putting himself into a position of comfort where he could mount offence to earn the stoppage he was tipped for.

But McDonnell was not going anywhere. And he was far from finished.

Perhaps with the knowledge he had nothing to lose, the Hatfield fighter roared back and forced the issue in the final quarter of the fight.

Vargas went into retreat mode as McDonnell mounted real offence. The Mexican was far from comfortable.

But a stoppage was needed to alter the ultimate outcome. That much was clear at the final bell when McDonnell was embraced by his corner in a consolatory manner while Vargas celebrated.

The scorecards read 117-111 and 116-112, giving Vargas victory and the title by majority decision after a rather baffling 114-114 draw verdict from British judge Ian John Lewis.

Afterwards, McDonnell cut a forlorn figure, unable to shake off the disappointment of his first defeat and the fact it came in such a high stakes contest.

But hopefully the disappointment will not last, and rather fade into pride.

Yes he was beaten. But he was beaten by a fast, slick, slippery fighter who could well go on to win multiple world titles at multiple weights.

And he was beaten while showing incredible tenacity, remarkable spirit and a very special level of heart and determination.

For that, he should be as proud of himself as those were who witnessed his effort.

n Earlier in the night, Conisbrough’s David Allen earned a brutal first round stoppage against Lukasz Rusiewicz.

Allen walked down the Polish fighter from the start and landed a trio of clubbing right hooks.

Rusiewicz quite literally went on the run but Allen met him with a couple of big left hooks on the ropes and referee Michael Alexander had seen enough with just 31 seconds on the clock.

The result improves Allen to 10-2-1 and was his seventh stoppage victory.