By Matt Bevan (@MBevs68)
Gavin McDonnell continues to go from strength-to-strength and he turned in another impressive performance, defending his European super-bantamweight title against Jeremy Parodi at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield.
McDonnell was the rightful victor on all three cards, 118-110, 117-111 and 117-111, in what was his first fight under new trainer Dave Coldwell, who he has made noticeable improvements under, and the first defence of the belt he won back in March.
With the win, the 29-year-old improves to 14(4)-0-2, whilst Parodi slips to 37(9)-3-1 and justifies the long 15 week camp for McDonnell, after it was dropped from the Hull bill in August and the Leeds bill in September, but the delays seem to have done wonders for McDonnell, who has added a nutritionist and was in the best shape of his career.
Parodi flew out of the blocks as expected, looking to keep the Doncaster man under pressure, but could never land cleanly, as McDonnell’s jab kept him at bay for the most part, whilst his head movement was excellent.
The Frenchman struggled with McDonnell’s elusiveness and the twin brother of current WBA “regular” bantamweight champion Jamie is showing signs that he could be a factor at world level in the future, albeit in a few fights time.
He couldn’t ask for a much better than the one has in Coldwell, who devised a solid game-plan that McDonnell never wavered from, as he refused to be dragged into the fight Parodi was after, as he kept it at range and picked his shots effortlessly to pull away in the later rounds.
Parodi probably took the first, stalking McDonnell and taking the centre of the ring, but the Doncaster man looks well at home on the ropes and landed the better shots in the second to tie it up. Parodi kept marching forwards but he was countered every time he tried to land on McDonnell, who added the third.
McDonnell was really growing into the fight and was looking excellent behind the jab, which set up more powerful blows as the round went on, for which Parodi had no answer. The Frenchman had better rounds in the fifth and sixth, which were much tighter affairs, but that was last time he was close to McDonnell.
He missed wildly in the seventh, whilst McDonnell’s rarely seemed to miss and any shots that Parodi did catch him with were blocked on the gloves and arms. McDonnell’s engine began to go through the gears, as Parodi slowed down and he let his hands go more.
It was a truly excellent performance from McDonnell and he has proven that he belongs at European level at the very least. It’s been five years since his debut and he is an example of a fighter who has done it the hard way and not been given an easy ride.
It was the 29-year-olds 10th straight fight over the 10 or 12 round distance, where he has picked up Central Area, British, WBO Inter-Continental and the European crown he currently holds. He looks to be on a fast track towards world level and will take some beating when he gets there.by