Gavin McDonnell ‘fighting for the family’ against Stuart Hall

Gavin McDonnell was in career-best form against Gamal Yafai last time out
Gavin McDonnell was in career-best form against Gamal Yafai last time out

Gavin McDonnell is determined to remind everyone just who he and his twin brother are and where they belong in the boxing pecking order.

Brother Jamie lost his WBA bantamweight world title last month after a four-year reign was ended by the explosive Naoya Inoue in Japan.

Gavin McDonnell

Gavin McDonnell

Severely weight drained, the 32-year-old was no match for the ferocious Inoue – or anyone else in the condition he was in.

He will return later in the year, jumping up to featherweight and begin his quest to become world champion yet again.

Securing a world title fight is a more pressing matter for Gavin, who can take a considerable step forward in that chase when he faces Stuart Hall in Newcastle on Saturday night.

Ranked third in the world at super bantamweight by the WBC, victory for McDonnell over former IBF bantamweight champion Hall should be enough to line up a second shot at world honours.

While that is his primary motivation heading to the Metro Radio Arena this weekend, he admits getting the McDonnell name spoken of in positive terms yet again is a goal.

“I wouldn’t say it’s about pulling the family name back – our kid is a credit to any family with what he’s done,” he told the Free Press.

“It’s not like I’m using this to pull him name back up.

“But we belong being talked about for good things.

“Everyone is quick to forget his ten year’s unbeaten and all he’s done and slate him for this and that.

“I just want to remind everyone that we’re still here at the top and we’re not going anywhere.

“It’s motivated me.”

The relationship between the McDonnell brothers has always been fascinating, ever since Gavin joined Jamie in the professional ranks in 2010.

They share every high and every low, fight each other’s fights with every blow at ringside and are so emotionally intertwined they both openly admit they would struggle for focus if they had to compete on the same night.

Yet, the competitive spirit between them is fierce to say the least.

Gavin took great delight in landing a shot against Rey Vargas for the famed WBC title last year – the big green belt for which Jamie has never fought.

And he has the chance to get one over on his brother again this weekend.

Hall was an opponent of Jamie in 2011 in what was a barnstormer of a fight for the British, Commonwealth and European titles at The Dome.

Jamie took the decision – deservedly so – but was involved in a real war against Hall, who went on to win the IBF title after McDonnell did himself.

Gavin has no real desire to get involved in a war himself and plans on dealing with Hall in more convincing fashion than his brother did.

“I’m the chance for him to get revenge on our kid,” he said.

“He’s going to be game, definitely.

“But that is driving me on a little bit more and is motivating me in a big way.

“I want to do a better job than our kid did on him. And I think I will.

“It’s a good fight for me. He’s tough, durable, been there done it and seen it.

“And he wants that revenge over the McDonnells.

“It makes sense for me to have it.

“How I’m feeling, how I’m performing and coming off the last fight, as long as I turn up on the night, switched on and put in what we’ve been doing in the gym, I think I’ll beat him and beat him in style.

“I don’t think he’ll be able to live with me.

“I’ll be too big and too strong, too ambitious, the bit between my teeth and on a roll.

“I think it’s set up for me to go out there and shine.”

“Stuey’s a better fighter now but he’s got a few more miles on the clock,” he added.

“He’s still going to be a dangerous fighter.

“But he’s older and I’m still fresh.

“I think it’ll be a big factor in the right. I’ll not be relying on it though.”

McDonnell heads to Newcastle on the back of the best performance of his career when he outclassed prospect Gamal Yafai in Sheffield in March.

The young former Olympian was expected to deliver a tough examination of McDonnell’s credentials but he responded in top class fashion.

Hall represents a similar test – but one that brings much different attributes.

“I proved it against the young buck, the fresh fighter and now I’ve got to do it against the experienced, older guy,” McDonnell said.

“These are the fights I want, against former world champions who’ve been to the top.

“That’s where I want to be. I’ve come so close and I want to get back.

“We’re there or there abouts. I’ve been told.

“All being well, I’ll smash Stuey Hall up and book myself in for another world title and the dream.”