ALL Jordan Gill needed was a chance. To prove how good he actually is. Those who had seen him in action, hidden away on undercards, marking time, knew that when it came his way he had to grab it with both hands.
It’s safe to say that since his first fight under the eyes of Dave Coldwell at Doncaster Dome in July 2017, Gill has done that and risen to the heights that observers hoped, and many expected, him to achieve. His win over Ryan Doyle to win the Commonwealth title last October was the breakout moment.
But, it was in March at the East of England Arena in Peterborough, close to his hometown of Chatteris, where he really showed his colours. He marched through Emmanuel Dominguez in rapid fashion to win the WBA International title and force his way into the world rankings.
He will aim for a similar win over Dominguez’s fellow Mexican Enrique Tinoco on Friday at Nottingham’s Motorpoint Arena. Gill explained to Boxing News: “I’m really looking forward to it actually. I’ve not hung around and I’m straight back in there, as an active fighter is a happy fighter, and it’s a chance to show off the improvements I’ve made despite the quick turnaround.
“I’m not sure what Tinoco is going to come with and whether he will come and try to take my head off or not. But I’ll deal with it regardless and break him down bit-by-bit and keep moving on towards those big fights. In front of me is a man and I won’t be focusing on what he does, all my attention is on me. If I’m good enough, then I’ll win, but if not, then I’ll lose. It’s as simple as that.
“Last time out was good under the circumstances. I was headlining the card for the first time on Sky Sports and the majority of the crowd was there for me, so it couldn’t have gone much better. There are still things to improve on but I’ll do my best and look to reach the next level.”
Alongside Gill in Peterborough was his close friend, former housemate and now Commonwealth champion Leigh Wood, who gets his turn to face Doyle on Friday, only this time the double act moves from Gill’s neck of the woods to Wood’s backyard in Nottingham.
Gill laughs, adding, “I’ll let him have this one. I’ve never boxed in Nottingham before so it’s going to be good to take in the atmosphere, although personally it will be hard to top Peterborough.
“Leigh knows what to do with Ryan Doyle, in fact I’ve already shown him what to do. If he sticks to what he does best, he’ll be fine. He beats Ryan in every department for me, so I honestly can’t see him having too much trouble.”
Gill notes that there may be a hint of pressure on his friend, not that you’d know it as the pair appear incredibly relaxed as they enter what will be the biggest fights of their professional careers.
He’s also quick to pay tribute to Coldwell, who since he re-entered the world of training from his promotional office, has once again become one of the most highly regarded trainers, and analysts, on these shores. Gill could well be his finest project to date.
“All the hard work has been done. There’s no point overthinking anything, as you just have to go through the process and get the job done. As for Leigh, there might be a bit more pressure on him than before, but he’ll thrive under it. You don’t get this far without being able to cope with the pressure and I’m expecting a show-stopping performance from him.
“I couldn’t ask for a better manager in Dave Coldwell. He’s got me opportunities at the right time and pushed me exactly how I need to be pushed. I couldn’t ask for anything more and I’m so happy with my decision to join forces with him.
“If you look where I am now, compared to where I was a couple of years ago, it couldn’t be any more different. It’s probably been a bigger jump to eventually becoming world champion, which I believe is not out of sight any more. Obviously you have to take it one fight at a time, but I want to fight those big boys, after I’ve beat up the Mexican on Friday night.”
He won’t be the only Gill in the corner though, as his father Paul has been a regular fixture throughout his recent success. A former amateur himself, it was Gill who originally brought his son to the revered Ingle Gym in Sheffield, where “The Thrill” spend the majority of his career before moving onto fellow Ingle graduate Coldwell.
Paul has seen it all with Jordan and knows the sport inside out. He’s a quiet figure, but has become a dependable second in Coldwell corner’s, recently playing the role for Dereck Chisora’s fight against Senad Gashi at London’s O2 Arena in April.
In a rare interview, he told Boxing News, “I’m proud of both of my kids and Jordan is really pushing on, helped by Dave getting him the right fights to get to the point he’s at now. He’s getting billed as one of the biggest future stars in British boxing, which is good and providing he keeps performing how he is at the moment, he will hopefully inspire some young kids to get into the sport.
“He’s had a difficult time, but I don’t like to look back, I prefer to look for the future and he will do whatever he wants. I have that much trust and belief in him. Anyone can find it hard to stay motivated, but if you have the right people around you, it helps a lot, not just in the gym, but at home. Myself, his mother, his sister and his wife-to-be kept an eye on him, helped him and kept him going and he’s in a really good place now.”
Gill, like his son, is quick to throw compliments Coldwell’s way and after years of waiting for Jordan to get his chance, he comes across excited to see what his son can really go on and achieve it in the sport, but not before acknowledging the tough task that awaits him on Friday at the hands of Tinoco.
“People don’t realise how good Dave is. I’ve seen it first hand. He’s very specific and never lies about things, he just tells you exactly how it is. If he says it’s good and you’re talented, then he’s telling the absolute truth because he knows what he’s looking at. We both see the same things in the corner, which is great, as we’re on the same wavelength,” he said.
“Jordan has progressed so much under him and I also have to mention Danny Wilson at Boxing Science, who’s fantastic at what he does as well. Every element is coming together and to fruition when he performs on fight night, so you’re going to see the best of Jordan. He needs a little more experience which he will get, especially the rounds, which hasn’t been possible as he’s made the last couple of fights look so easy. He’s that good when he gets going, which I’ve seen plenty of times over the years.
“People that don’t know boxing might have a look at him and think this is a pushover, but if you know the sport you know that couldn’t be further from the reality. He’s been up at lightweight, where he fought Devin Haney, who looks like he will be a superstar in world boxing, which is why Matchroom have got hold of him as all the networks and promoters were after his signature. This is going to be tough, but I believe that we’re going to see the best of Jordan on Friday. You need to see questions answered under the lights and Tinoco will be the man to ask those questions of Jordan.”
He finished: “I’ve said for years that our area is crying out for a champion and I’ve been trying to get a push in boxing there for years. I was told it couldn’t be done because all the big fights go to London, but with the emergence of local gyms and with the elite amateurs moving to Sheffield, we are seeing those big nights not just in London, but Manchester, Liverpool and Nottingham as well. Dave spoke to me around Christmas to see if it would be possible to put on a card in the Peterborough area, so we put it all together and got it done, with the potential for more. If Jordan keeps performing how he is now.”