By Matt Bevan (@MBevs68)
Gavin McDonnell’s manager Stefy Bull has assured fans that McDonnell’s first defence of his European title against Jeremy Parodi on Saturday at the Sheffield Arena, live on Sky Sports, is a proper 50/50 fight and not to be missed.
Bull, who retired as a fighter back in 2010 and shared the ring with Amir Khan, will have a busy night on Saturday as two more of his fighters, heavyweight David Allen and lightweight Steven Hale, will also be appearing on the bill.
The local promoter and manager is confident that his fighters will make it three wins from three at the Arena and McDonnell (13(4)-0-2) in particular will show how good he is on the big stage, with Bull praising his dedication and describing him as a true role model for any young aspiring fighter to look up to.
“It’s going to be a busy night on Saturday with three lads on and it doesn’t get much better than it being on Sky Sports. Gavin McDonnell is in a true 50/50 fight with Jeremy Parodi, who has only had two losses in 40-odd fights. There’s no need to go on the Frampton fight, as Carl is a special talent, and Parodi will be ready to go on Saturday and confident of picking up a victory away from home.
“Gav has had no amateur experience and had to do all his learning on the job. He is in love with boxing and will come of age on Saturday. I remember being in France after his twin brother Jamie won the European title and Gav standing up and saying that he was going to have a go at boxing, and we all laughed at him.
“Now a few years on he’s gone from a local lager lout to the European super-bantamweight champion himself. He’s totally changed his life around, grafted his backside off and it looks there is no stopping him. He’s so dedicated and got total belief in himself, that he’s like a runaway train at the moment. Gavin McDonnell is a true role model to any young kid out there looking to make a name for themselves as boxers.”
Bull has high hopes for his two prospects that are getting a run out on the bill as well in Allen and Hale. Allen (7(5)-0-1) was originally scheduled to take on Adam Machaj for the Central Area title, however Machaj has withdrawn and he will now take on former French heavyweight champion Fabrice Aurieng (10(3)-7) instead.
Hale, who returned last November after a three year break will take on Dean Evans in what will be his first fight outside of the Doncaster Dome. Hale (6(2)-0) has been sparring with McDonnell to prepare for his opportunity and will have sights set on an Area title in 2016.
“I know it’s a big statement but David Allen will be the British heavyweight champion within 18 months. He is the real deal. He does things other heavyweights can only dream of doing, he’s naturally gifted and moves like a middleweight, it’s more a case of what he hasn’t got. Before he came to me, he was just playing boxing, now he’s ready to make a statement and show everyone what he has got.
“He was managed by Dennis Hobson before who did a great job with him, but he never had a proper training team or camp behind him. He used to train in his garden with his dad and do his exercise in his living room, living on KFC. He came to me in June weighing 20 stone and now he’s under 16 stone and in terrific shape. He impressed at the MGM gym in Marbella when we went over and I’m so excited about this kid.
“As for Steven, he’s one of the hardest working lads in boxing and deserves an opportunity like this. He’s been sparring Gavin in the build-up, so you’ve got to be good to share the ring with a European Champion and I want to really get the ball rolling with him. Steven has got natural power and as long as he keeps his composure, we can push on towards an Area title in 2016.
“Steven had a long break to have some time with his young family and he’s not the sort of guy to fight unless he is fully committed. Dean Evans is facing him Saturday and he is a tough, durable guy who won’t tuck up to survive and comes with some ambition, which will bring the best out of Steven. It’ll be much better for him to be in with someone like Dean instead of a cagey journeyman, who is awkward and just wants to get through the rounds.”