By Matt Bevan (@MBevs68)
Doncaster’s European super-bantamweight champion Gavin McDonnell claims he is primed and ready for the first defence of his title on Saturday against Frenchman Jeremy Parodi at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield, live on Sky Sports.
McDonnell (13(4)-0-2) is anticipating a tough fight with Parodi (37(9)-2-1), who will be making his second trip to British shores where he was previously stopped by IBF world champion Carl Frampton back in 2013. It will also be his first fight under new trainer Dave Coldwell, who he switched to earlier this year.
The fight has already been scheduled twice and McDonnell hasn’t fought since winning the belt in March at the same venue against Oleksandr Yegorov, but Gavin claims the extra delays will work in his favour, as he has had more time to build his relationship with Coldwell.
“I’m ready for Saturday now. It’s been a long camp, but it’s been great to have that extra time with Dave and I’m just looking forward to fighting now. It’ll be a tough fight with Parodi, who is a quality European level fighter, but it’s the sort of fight that I need now to prepare me for the bigger fights up at world level.
“He has only had two losses and will be confident coming here, but I know I’ll come through and put on a show. In a way I just want to get this one out of the way, as there have been delays and it has dragged on a bit, but it has worked in my favour and I can see and feel the improvements every day in training.
“I really believe that working with Dave has pushed me to the next level with the new things he has brought in, especially the nutrition side. It’s made a massive difference already and I’m doing things on fight week that I have never been able to do before and feel so much stronger.”
The 29-year-old will now be chief support on the Sheffield bill, behind Chris Eubank Jr’s fight following Kell Brook’s withdrawal from his world title defence with Diego Chaves due to a rib injury, and he says the extra interest will benefit him and put extra pressure on him to perform.
However, he remains unfazed and is expecting a win over Parodi to springboard him to bigger fights in 2016 and the opportunity to emulate his twin brother Jamie, who currently holds the WBA bantamweight world title, and reach the pinnacle by fighting for a world title.
“With Brook pulling out, I’m now chief support to Eubank, so the fight will be talked about more, but that doesn’t bother me in the slightest, as I like the extra pressure. I’ll get the win and have a week off in Egypt, although I’ll still do some bits and pieces out there and then I’ll be back in the gym.
“I love training, as I want to make every fight as easy as possible. I obviously don’t enjoy the dieting, but I put the work in in the gym so I can be up at the top level like Jamie. He’s got the natural ability and can take things in his stride, whereas I have to work harder and graft more, but I’ll reach the level he’s at soon.
“Give me a date and I’ll be more than ready for it. I’ll listen to my team of Dave, my manager Stefy Bull and Matchroom and they’ll tell me what I’m doing next. I’m happy to defend my belt or step up to fringe world level, but all I want is a good test to pick up more experience, starting with Jeremy Parodi in Sheffield on Saturday.”by