Gavin McDonnell does more than enough to see off warrior Stuart Hall

Gavin McDonnell raises his hand in victory after outpointing Stuart Hall. Picture: Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom
Gavin McDonnell raises his hand in victory after outpointing Stuart Hall. Picture: Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom

It shows how far Gavin McDonnell has come that he was not satisfied with a comfortable points win over a former world champion.

The dust had barely settled on his victory over Stuart Hall in Newcastle and the Dunscroft fighter was quickly bemoaning his performance.

Gavin McDonnell turns up the heat on Stuart Hall. Picture: Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom

Gavin McDonnell turns up the heat on Stuart Hall. Picture: Lawrence Lustig/Matchroom

Unquestionably, it was not McDonnell at his most slick or most accomplished. At times he laboured and struggled to truly pile the pressure on his opponent.

But what he did was more than enough to see off a proud warrior who was never going to stop coming forward and trying to force the issue.

And it was enough to edge McDonnell closer to a second shot at a world title.

In his previous fight he proved himself against a highly rated prospect. Perhaps his career-best performance in outclassing Gamal Yafai set standards too high in his own mind.

While he did not match the dominance he showed on that special night in March, he proved himself against wily veteran against whom he had to stay switched on from start to finish in 12 taxing rounds.

Two scorecards of 117-111 were reflective of the control he had on the fight. A third of 115-113 - the less spoken about the better.

From a cagey opening round and through the majority of the fight, McDonnell dictated the pace and direction from behind the jab as he used his physical advantages.

He nullified former IBF bantamweight champion Hall using the jab but also with excellent head movement, dodging shots with ease.

Where an element of the lacklustre came in was an apparent reluctance to build more offence off the jab, certainly in the first half of the fight.

McDonnell was never in trouble, even when being unable to resist trading shots with Hall, which saw him knocked out of his own rhythm on occasion.

Such flurries of war ensured his night concluded with having half a dozen stiches in his left brow - though his face suggested he had been in a tougher fight than perhaps he was.

In the second half of the fight he seemed to be building confidence and allowed shots to flow more freely, finding the body and landing hooks to the head.

But, in truth, he did not need to force the issue too much and could remain simply plugging away from behind the jab.

Emphasising Hall's waning powers was the fact he failed to produce the typical pressure in the final few rounds in the chase of a stoppage he desperately needed.

McDonnell had done more than enough. As he heads towards another world title shot, that is all he needed to do.

Earlier in the night, Sheffield-trained Charlie Edwards delivered a savage third round stoppage win over Anthony Nelson.

Edwards, who trains in the Steel City gym under Grant Smith, had Nelson down three times and referee Howard Foster had seen enough with the final knockdown.