There were plenty of solid performances at Matchroom’s Fight Camp in Eddie Hearn’s back garden last summer. Then there were some standout ones. Jordan Gill was among the star turns.
‘The Thrill’ was close to punch perfect, as he controlled Reece Bellotti during the very first fight of the four promotions put on at Matchroom’s Brentwood headquarters and it’s hard to think of a time when Gill has looked better. The Chatteris man was in cruise control on fight night.
Gill (25-1, 7 KOs) is now looking to get himself back in the frame for bigger fights with the European featherweight crown high up on his checklist. “It was a bad year for everyone and there weren’t many chances for anybody to get out much,” Gill told Boxing Social. “I had a fight on March 28, but that was the first card cancelled [by the Covid-19 Pandemic] so I was waiting like everyone else. When I got offered the spot on the first Fight Camp card, I took it with both hands.
“During the fight I damaged my hand, so was out for a while with that and then I caught Covid, so I was out with that. So I’m back fit and ready and, as soon as they give me a date, I’ll be ready to go and keep building on the momentum I picked up when I beat Reece.
“I watched it back and I tried to be as fair as possible to Reece. I honestly could only give him the fourth round. That was the best Reece Bellotti I could have fought, as he was more seasoned, more experienced and he had nothing to lose. He’s been in with good fighters like Ryan Walsh and I beat him much more comfortably than him.
“I’m looking to go after the European title. I know Gavin McDonnell is the mandatory for Andoni Gago, so we will see how that plays out. I’m focused on fighting world level opponents and getting involved in the mix for international titles so I can be ranked and ready to make the leap whenever the opportunity comes my way.”
It was a welcome return to form for Gill who suffered a career-stalling defeat to tough Mexican Mario Enrique Tinoco in Nottingham in May 2019. It was a shock result, but behind the scenes it took an even nastier turn.
Gill struggled, like most fighters, with his first defeat but the dark times got worse for him, as there were health complications. Overnight he had gone from a future star and one of Britain’s brightest prospects to the very realistic possibility of never being able to step in the ring again.
“The fight with Tinoco was a bad night. Not just in terms of being ill but I wouldn’t have won anyway as I made so many mistakes in there,” recalled Gill. “I’ve worked non-stop since and had no real time off. Even through the first lockdown, I stayed right on it. I’ve made the adjustments I needed in the gym and I want those hard tests in 2021.
“It was difficult with my health. I contracted a rare thyroid condition and I was genuinely concerned that I might not be able to come back at all. But I’ve got over it and I’m in good shape physically, and I’m ready to show that no one has seen the best of me yet.
“Looking back, it was a very dark time. I’ve had plenty of ups and downs in boxing and dedicated my whole life to the sport. Every minute has been put in with the intention of one day reaching my goal of becoming a world champion.
“To have that possibly taken away from me, through no fault of my own, was heartbreaking, but I improved and got through the bad luck and other setbacks. Now I can once again concentrate on fighting as often as possible and picking up some big wins.”
The defeat to Tinoco was eye opening. It made Gill take a step back and look at the progression of his career.
Gill debuted in a British professional ring way back in July 2012. He was originally a product of the Ingle gym in Sheffield, but the breakthrough never came. The Chatteris featherweight nearly walked away from the sport until he joined forces with Dave Coldwell in Rotherham and then, with the stabilisers off, he went through the gears.
A win over Tinoco was meant to be a formality. In the end, it may just have been what Gill needed. Now he is ready to ‘Thrill’ once more and achieve the dreams that were very nearly cruelly snatched away from him not so long ago.
“What I know now is that I really am ready to strike. Before the fight with Tinoco, I thought I was ready. I’ve got a great deal of knowledge and experience for a 26-year-old and I’m coming into my prime years, having improved all the areas that I needed to,” said Gill.
“I’m improving every day in the gym and getting stronger with it, but most importantly my mentality is improving. I’m going to make a real attack on this division and, as soon as Dave tells me a date or the phone goes, I’ll be ready to go.”
With the backing of Coldwell, Gill has excelled. Now the trainer is looking forward to the future and believes Gill is ready to be unleashed.
“It was a fantastic win for Jordan over Bellotti. Reece is a big puncher, who was tipped to knock Jordan out but he put in a great boxing performance to cruise past him,” said Coldwell. “It was the first big test after his health problems and I really was worried he wouldn’t come back, but he’s back and he’s mentally matured. It’s time to let him off the leash properly now.
“He lost. He made mistakes and the wrong choices, but I still wouldn’t turn back the clock. He’s had his dark times and could easily have been totally written off by everyone, as just another overhyped fighter. But it’s all part of the education and, as they say, you lose or you learn. Now he’s ready to make those leaps and push on up the rankings, or the European title.”
Main image and all photos: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.