Jordan Gill: Q&A with one of Britain’s most avoided prospects
By Ian Aldous: On Sunday February 25th, Jordan Gill (18-0) finally gets the chance to test himself at domestic level when he battles Jason Cunningham (23-4), in a British featherweight title eliminator, at Victoria Warehouse in Manchester, live on Sky Sports.
It’s been a long road of being avoided and seeing fights fall through for the twenty-three year old from Cambridgeshire. Earlier this week, ‘The Thrill’ took some time to chat with me over the phone about his upcoming fight and his career so far.
IA: It’s a huge step-up in competition for you against Jason Cunningham in a British featherweight title eliminator next Sunday night. What are your thoughts on him as an opponent?
JG: I think it’s a great step (up), he’s an established champion, he’s won the senior ABAs as an amateur and he went in and won two English titles, two commonwealth titles (as a pro). He’s mixed it at top level and I just think it’s a great fight for me. If you’re going to go anywhere in this sport, these are the sort of fights you need to be taking – these are the guys you need to beat.
IA: Is featherweight your favored weight division now?
JG: Yeah, it always has been. I’ve just never had the opportunity to fight for a title at it. Featherweight is the division for me at the moment.
IA: This Saturday night, Ryan Walsh defends his British featherweight championship against Isaac Lowe on the Groves/Eubank Jr. undercard. Who are you picking?
JG: I think Ryan Walsh will have the experience and I think he’ll win the fight. I think there won’t be that much in it. I think Walsh is the superior boxer, but the only chance Lowe’s got is if he’s got a bit more desire and a bit more in the tank later on, we’ve seen Walsh tire late on before.
IA: I remember watching you on the undercard of a Kid Galahad fight in Sheffield back in 2014 and you stood out at the time. To me, it’s been very surprising not to have seen you on a big stage under a big promoter, when seemingly lesser talents have been given chances. Do you agree with that?
JG: Yeah, 100%. I was promised the world by my previous manager and nothing ever delivered. I was told I was going to get the championship fights, told I was going to be in this fight and that fight. I’ve been put on shows and the show’s been cancelled. I’ve been a float and ended up not boxing because the shows have overrun. It was just a complete nightmare. I had eighteen months when I didn’t box once and it’s unforgivable. So, I made the change to Dave Coldwell (his new trainer) under new management and it’s working out – I’m getting the opportunities now. I would never have this fight now if I didn’t move. It’s a good step in the right direction against a good opponent and I’m very pleased.
IA: So far, you’ve only fought one opponent with a winning record. That must be incredibly frustrating for you?
JG: It’s so frustrating. It’s embarrassing, but it is what it is. I wanted to step up a long time ago and everyone knows that. But, we’ve got to this position now where I am stepping up, so we’ll see what I’m made of. As soon as you get a couple of good wins, people soon forget about the bums that you’ve boxed. People are fickle like that – it is what it is.
IA: It must be tough to get motivated to fight journeyman after journeyman as you don’t always learn a great deal each time?
JG: Yeah, definitely. I mean, I’ve been sparring world champions for the last few years in the gym and I’m not out of place at all, if anything a lot of the time I get the better of people. Then to go in and fight a guy that has lost twenty or thirty fights is demoralising. I think it shows how much dedication and drive that I’ve had to be able to stick it out and actually continue my career when I haven’t been getting the opportunities. Now I am getting the opportunities and learning in the gym and I’m happy – then how much of a better fighter are you going to see? I think you’re going to see a lot better fighter. We’ll soon find out next Sunday.
IA: One of my next questions was going to be about the world class sparring you mentioned. Tell me a little bit about that and some of the guys you’ve sparred with.
JG: All sorts of guys, you know. I’ve sparred (Jorge) Linares in Las Vegas in 45 degree heat with no air conditioning when I was nineteen years old! I’ve sparred Kid Galahad, Lee Selby and I’ve not been out of place once. My class shows through.
IA: I’ve seen videos of you in the gym and you look fit and strong. The title eliminator is your first fight scheduled for more than six rounds. Will ten rounds be something you feel you can easily complete, if required?
JG: Yeah, ten rounds isn’t going to be a problem for me. They can make it twenty if they wanted, you fight until it’s done, and you stay until the job’s done. You take each round as it comes and I won’t be found wanting for fitness. I think the Cunningham team might be banking on me gassing out, but it’s not an option.
IA: Your trainer, Dave Coldwell, is doing very good things out of his Rotherham gym. Tell me a little about what he’s done for you as a fighter.
JG: It’s completely different. The switch was huge for me, to go there, although it’s only just up the road from the Ingle gym where I was. The switch has been massive. I feel like everything’s very technical. He’s an absolute workhorse and he focuses so much on technique and you have to get it correct. He’s very pernickety, so you spend time trying to please him and get it the way that he wants to do it. So far, he’s made me a more complete fighter, a better fighter. I’m learning every day in the gym, (he’s) spending time one-to-one teaching me these little things and it’s really paying off. I’m not doing my boxing training for fitness now, all my fitness (training) is done with Sheffield Hallam University (Boxing Science) and my boxing sessions are actually my boxing sessions. I’m learning technique every day and that’s been a huge change, whereas everything was high intensity at the Ingles’ and I feel like it’s made a real difference. The gym’s buzzing, we’ve got Tony Bellew in a massive rematch with David Haye, we’ve got Gavin McDonnell against Gamal Yafai and Jamie McDonnell is a world champion in the bantamweight division. I’m just glad to be involved, glad to be in the gym having a bit of banter. We’ve got Anthony Fowler there, an up-and-coming prospect who’s been to the Olympics. It’s all good, all good in the hood.
IA: After spending so long with the Ingles in Sheffield, obviously you had your reasons for leaving, but I assume it was still tough to leave?
JG: It’s a great gym to train at, there’s a lot of good characters there. I still live with two of the guys who train at the Ingle gym. I left on good terms, they realised that they weren’t giving me the work that I wanted. We parted ways amicably. They’ve got a good stable at the moment, they’re buzzing, Dave’s buzzing, so I wish them all the best. It was a huge change but I think at the end of the day it’s not a team sport and if you want to improve your life and your career, sometimes you’ve got to get off your arse yourself and do it.
IA: Finally, what can we expect next Sunday night?
JG: You can see plenty of sharpshooting (and) intelligent displays of ring control. I’m just going to go out, focus, and try and put on a show, box to the best of my ability and get the win by any means possible.
Lewis Ritson vs. Joe Murray for the British lightweight championship and Jordan Gill vs. Jason Cunningham in a British featherweight title eliminator, will be broadcast live on Sky Sports Action and Sky Sports Mix at 7pm on Sunday February 25th.
Tickets are available at stubhub.co.uk