Bitter disappointment for Gavin McDonnell as bad cut ends European title tilt

Gavin McDonnell’s challenge for the European featherweight title ended in bitter disappointment as a bad cut forced the fight to be waved off after four rounds.

Friday, 23rd April 2021, 8:09 pm
Updated Friday, 23rd April 2021, 8:21 pm
Gavin McDonnell meets opponent Andoni Gago in Barcelona. Picture: Matchroom Boxing
Gavin McDonnell meets opponent Andoni Gago in Barcelona. Picture: Matchroom Boxing

The Dunscroft fighter saw a horrendous gash open up on his right brow in the first round of his competitive clash with champion Andoni Gago in Barcelona.

The ringside doctor checked the cut during the fourth round but allowed McDonnell to continue. After another check at the start of the fifth he deemed the 35-year-old in no position to continue.

With four rounds completed and the referee adjudging the cut to have been caused by a clash of heads, the fight went to the scorecards, with a majority draw given as the official decision which saw Gago retain his title.

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English judge Mark Lyson gave McDonnell all four rounds while the other two scored it 48-48 to that point.

It was a strong start to the fight from McDonnell, who quickly made his much greater height and reach count by establishing the jab early.

He found good success early down the body and began to pick shots to the body.

It appears the clash of heads came early too, with the cut opened up by a very hefty left hook from the Spanish opponent.

Gago consistently landed the left hook throughout, which only worsened McDonnell’s predicament.

But the former European super bantamweight champion was not deterred and showed a streak of confidence at the start of the second, working in other shots off the jab and big body shots in particular.

Gago, stout and tenacious, pushed forward and pinned McDonnell on the ropes before unleashing a barrage of shots in an awkward manner.

Gago came out aggressively for the third and closed down the space in the early stages, which McDonnell struggled to get to grips with initially.

But he absorbed the pressure well as the round wore on, standing his ground and covering up before hitting back on the counter.

The cut was opened up again early in the fourth, with the referee stepping in to call for a doctor’s check.

On the resumption, Gago again pounced forward and unleashed shots from all angles.

McDonnell produced some nice work under pressure, countering to the head and body.

But what was developing into an ultra competitive contest would not last long beyond the bell at the start of the fifth as the referee indicated the fight should end.

The result sees two-time former world title contender McDonnell drop to 22-2-3 in his career.

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