Featured image: Mark Robinson/Matchroom Boxing.
A rejuvenated Jordan Gill threw his name into the super-featherweight title mix with a seventh-round stoppage of Michael Conlan in Belfast on Saturday.
Cambridgeshire’s Gill scored a second-round knockdown and wobbled the Irishman on numerous occasions before the fight was halted by referee Howard Foster at 1:09 of the seventh.
The upset sees Gill set himself for huge fights at 130lbs after enduring a difficult year outside of the ring.
“After the Kiko [Martinez] loss, I sort of lost touch with myself. I broke up with my wife, on the 30th June I was in a field drinking a litre of vodka and I was gonna kill myself,” he told DAZN post-fight.
“Somebody saved me that day, and I went to Ben Davison’s gym to work with Barry [Smith] who’s put so much effort in with me. My dad’s been by my side, my friends and family have been there supporting me. I can’t thank you all enough and now I’ve just changed my life.”
Promoter Eddie Hearn hinted at a possible shot at world honours for Gill following his career-best performance on Irish shores.
“I’ll be completely honest, I thought Michael Conlan was a big favourite going into the fight tonight. We didn’t know as a team what he [Gill] had left as in the gym and his desire other than what he was telling us,” he said.
“That was a life changing performance. If he gets beat his career’s over but all of a sudden he puts in a performance like that and he’s screaming at a shot for a world title.”
Move up in weight favours Gill
Both fighters headed into Saturday making their debuts at super-featherweight after previously campaigning at 126lbs.
With both having suffered damaging losses in their recent fights, the question remained of who would benefit more from the move up but it was Gill who appeared stronger from the off.
After a sharp start in the first round from Conlan, Gill appeared to wobble his man with a straight right before landing a heavy knockdown in the second with a short left hook on the inside.
Conlan predictably rose to his feet but appeared hurt again my multiple right hands towards the end of the round.
While the Belfast man regrouped and re-established his jab in the third and fourth, Gill’s power always remained a danger and looked to trouble Conlan whenever he landed clean.
A strong Gill start in the sixth saw another Conlan rally before swiping the former with his elbow on the bell which was followed by a stern warning from referee Foster upon the start of the seventh.
The round proved to be the bout’s last however as another left hand wobbled Conlan and was followed by two cuffing rights to the temple which sent him stumbling back to the ropes.
A right uppercut followed by a fuselage of hooks from Gill had the Irishman in serious trouble with his legs shaken before Foster decided enough was enough and stepped in at 1:09 of the round.
The loss marks a return to winning ways for Gill following a fourth-round stoppage defeat to Kiko Martinez in October last year.
Conlan however has now lost in back-to-back fights in his home city after a fifth-round KO against IBF featherweight champion Luis Alberto Lopez in May.
Crocker and Agyarko shine on the undercard
Lewis Crocker dominated a rugged Tyrone McKenna over ten welterweight rounds in the Belfast derby.
The former consistently landed walloping blows to McKenna’s head and body, displaying sublime punch variety throughout the encounter, but was unable to put a dent into his opponent despite his best efforts.
McKenna has since announced his retirement from the sport following the loss on Saturday.
Belfast’s Caoimhin Agyarko also defeated former British super-welterweight champion Troy Williamson over ten rounds.
The Irishman emerged a deserving winner, despite one judge bizarrely scoring in favour of County Durham’s Williamson, in his toughest test in the paid ranks to date.
Belfast’s Sean McComb also floored Liverpool super-lightweight Sam Maxwell on three occasions before running out a wide winner on points after ten rounds.