Jordan Gill: ‘I definitely have the skills and capabilities to become world champion’
By Louis Devereux
When a successful amateur boxer turns professional, there is often a certain weight of expectation put upon them – to fight on television, headline events, sign with a big promoter, and to win belts.
Someone who has done all of this at just 26 is slick featherweight and WBA International Champion Jordan Gill.
Just a few weeks ago on Sky Sports, Gill jabbed, slipped and countered his way to a conclusive points decision over former World Title challenger Cesar Juarez in what was arguably his toughest opponent to date. Though he didn’t seem overly pleased on the night, Jordan has since watched the fight back and now feels far more satisfied with the performance.
‘I’m happier now than I was on the night, definitely. I was probably over critical of some of the mistakes I made, but when you take a big step up the mistakes are forced because the quality of the opponent Is higher. I’m pleased with the fight, I thought my performance was good- he put a lot of pressure on, he was strong, he can punch, and he’s very experienced. He’s boxed at the highest level and mixed with some of the top names and he came prepared and in very good shape, wanting to win. You could see after the fight that he was disappointed that he lost; he came to win and was expecting to win that fight. For me to get the win, and a dominating win, in a situation like that is very pleasing to me.’
There was an added level of meaning to this fight, as Cesar Juarez is in the same promotional stable as Mario Enrique Tinoco, who gave Jordan his only loss as a professional back in 2019. It was a huge blow for Jordan at the time, but it appears he has put the night behind him and wants to move onwards and upwards.
‘I’ve put it to bed now, especially after my win a few weeks ago. I didn’t actually know they were in the same promotional camp until someone told me after the fight, but it just made the win that bit sweeter. The fact Juarez was in the same camp as Tinoco meant they were probably licking their lips at the thought of coming over, thinking they’re going to beat me and they’d have an easy night. Juarez is a better fighter than Tinoco anyway, so yeah it was a bonus for me, and it added a narrative for people to talk about leading up to the fight.’
Though he wasn’t given much notice for the fight, Gill looked as fit and sharp as normal, testament to his hard work in the gym.
‘My preparation was good. I actually only got the call two weeks before to say the fight was confirmed, but I’ve been in the gym since late October, training and ticking over, making sure I’m fit and my weight is right. Everyone was getting fights announced and obviously I was happy for them but I was looking forward to getting my own date. When I’m training in the gym and seeing these other guys train, I’m subconsciously training just as hard so when the call came, I was more than ready to fight, and ready to step up to championship distance against a former world title challenger on short notice.’
No one ever expects an easy night against a Mexican fighter, but what happened to Josh Warrington just a week before Jordan’s fight highlighted this fact even more, meaning there was no room for complacency on the night.
‘When Josh Warrington got beat in such a big upset it highlighted what I already knew about these guys. They come from abroad and though they might not be known by UK fight fans, they really can fight and they want to hurt you and take your head off and unless you’re on the ball, that’s exactly what they’ll do.’
On the Josh Warrington undercard, Jordan watched his good friend Leigh Wood beat Reece Mould for the British Title, and whilst Gill would be more than capable of winning his own British Title, it’s not something he’d be interested in fighting for at this point in his career.
‘I’ve had the opportunity to fight for the British Title and we decided to go the International route instead. I want to push on for a World Title rather than staying at domestic level as I’ve had 3 good domestic wins already; Reece Bellotti, Jason Cunningham, and Ryan Doyle. In times like this where fights are few and far between, I’m looking to jump up the levels a bit quicker so that’s what we aimed to do, and that’s why I chose to fight Juarez rather than Reece Mould for the British and the fact I beat him shows that was the right decision. I withdrew from the purse bids which is why Leigh got the chance to fight for the British and because he was coming off a loss in the Golden Contract, the fight made sense even though I think he’s well above British level.’
There has been talk recently of Gill fighting fellow British featherweight Isaac Lowe on the much-anticipated Fury vs Joshua card. Not only is this stylistically an exciting and closely matched fight, but it makes sense for both men, and it is clear that Gill is keen for the fight to be made.
‘The reason I’m interested in that fight is because he’s ranked top 15 with all the governing bodies, I’m number 5 with the WBA now. He’s a good fighter and above domestic level but he is British, and in British boxing you need domestic rivalries to peak people’s interests. I think me vs Isaac Lowe is great fight, it’s interesting and intriguing and I think the perfect time for it is on the AJ fury undercard, it’s Matchroom vs Top Rank and MTK, plus Isaac always fights on Fury’s undercards so why not fight me? It matches the theme for the rest of the night as I’m signed with Matchroom, and like I said he’s ranked top 15 so there is no reason why it can’t be a world title eliminator. It’s a fight everyone is calling for. No disrespect to Isaac but I believe I’ve got the tools to beat him- I’m sure he thinks the same about me but the only way to prove it is to get in the ring.’
You can’t mention Joshua vs Fury to a boxer without asking for their opinion on a winner and how they think the fight would play out.
‘It’s a close fight, some people say Fury completely outboxes him and smashes him, and casuals will say AJ will win because he has big muscles. I don’t think it’s that easy- it’s a close fight either way, they both have lots of strengths and some vulnerabilities so it’s a fight where whoever gets the tactics right on the night will come out victorious. If there is a rematch clause, which I’m sure there will be, then I won’t be surprised if its one all after two fights. Fury could frustrate Joshua, but if Joshua hurts Fury he could finish him. I do feel like AJ will have to change and adapt more than Fury will.’
If Jordan was to fight and beat Isaac Lowe on the undercard of the biggest event in British boxing history, it would surely project him to new heights in terms of world ranking, popularity, opportunity and exposure.
‘If the next fight is Isaac Lowe then so be it, I’ll fight him, beat him and move on. Hopefully, I can move on to a world title shot or a final eliminator because that’s what it’s all about for me. I’m WBA number 5 now so I’m not too far away, I could be put into a final eliminator or I could be called up for a shot at any time. I know Warrington was supposed to be fighting Can Xu but he’s rematching Lara now, who’s number 4. I’m not sure what 2 and 3 are doing but I’m number 5 and I’m available.’
Gill’s fighting spirit and ambition comes as no surprise when you look at how long he’s being boxing at a high level, in both the amateurs and the professional ranks.
‘I first walked into a boxing gym when I was about 4 years old because my dad was a local amateur coach. I had a bit too much energy as a kid, running round and causing problems, so my teachers asked my parents to do something with me. My mum took me swimming before school and my dad took me to boxing after school.
‘From 4 to 11, I couldn’t box legally so I was just knocking about in the gym, until I had my first bout when I was 11. I was an amateur for 7 years. I was in 7 national finals, was top 2 in England every year, boxed for England, and by the time I was 18 I was fed up of the amateur game. I had the opportunity to either go to the World Championships with England, or turn professional on the Kell Brook vs Carson Jones card, in front of 10,000 people on Sky Sports. Me being me, I took that challenge on and I was a bit green to the game not understanding the business, but I learnt pretty quickly.’
Turning professional the week after his 18th birthday, Jordan has been a professional almost nine years now, but is still young and believes that the best is yet to come.
‘I think I’d be doing myself an injustice if I didn’t win a world title. I feel like I definitely have the skills and capabilities to become world champion. So I want to win a world title, keep hold of it, defend it as many times as possible, and then unify. I’m taking it one step at a time, but I am only 26 and I feel like I’m only just starting to come into my prime; I’ve had some good learning fights and I’m putting it all into practice in the gym and in the ring.’
Photo Credit: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing