John O’Donnell: I believe Khan and Mitchell are over-hyped

26.01.06 - Hennessy Sports promoted John O’Donnell – who boxes in Ireland for the first time as a professional this Saturday - believes that he is better equipped to progress to major titles than fellow domestic prospects Amir Khan and Kevin Mitchell..

"There is a lot of unjustified praise for a few fighters in this country," began the 20-year-old welterweight, who justifiably turned heads of his own with a devastating fourth round win over the heavier Matt Scriven on SKY Sports on Friday night.

"A lot of so called experts, analysts and writers are too easy to jump on the bandwagon of what I believe are over-hyped fighters like Khan and Mitchell, but ignore real talent.

"I sparred Khan a few times as an amateur. I didn’t rate him then and I don’t rate him now. We are both young and he is growing into a welter so there is a chance we could fight.

"He has quick hands and a bit of strength. But I have quicker hands, am stronger, tougher, far more talented and much better suited to the pros. I would take him apart.

"I think Mitchell is bad. He’s wide open and walks onto a lot of shots, a good fighter would jab his head off. I think he knows that. If you ask me, that’s why he has gone off and fought for an Intercontinental Title instead of going the proper route by challenging English super featherweight champion Billy Corcoran, who would deal with him easy.

"In my opinion, these guys don’t have the talent to succeed - that’s why they keep boxing opponents a lot lighter than them - but they still get a following.

"That doesn’t bother me, I know what I am about, I am a real fighter prepared to take on decent opposition my own weight and heavier, just look at my record if you want proof. That will see me through in the long term. The tables will turn; I will be left with proper titles whilst they are forgotten about."

To support his claim, the 20-year-old from Shepherds Bush is ready to meet more established fighters, despite only having had 8 contests.

"Keep an eye out and compare my career to Khan and Mitchell’s," he added. "I will prove myself against more experienced fighters. I would fight Matthew Hatton and English champion Ross Minter right now. I would take those two on the same night.

"Would I be worried about fighting British champion Michael Jennings? Don’t make me laugh. I want to do things the proper way, because I can. If any of these fighters have a problem with what I am saying, don’t come back talking rubbish about it, take the fight."

O’Donnell’s promoter Mick Hennessy also believes that his charge doesn’t get the coverage his ability deserves.

"I am going to be honest and admit that I do find it a bit irritating that even though we have been telling people from day one how good this kid is, people back less talented fighters. They would rather follow the consensus than do their homework," the Hennessy Sports head said.

"If people had taken the time out to watch O’Donnell, even before he impressed the pundits on SKY on Friday, they would have seen that all the signs were there. He is the full package, as he showed in the amateurs where he won Olympic and Four Nation’s gold.

"He will make a much better pro. He has a great chin, a big engine, a massive heart and god given talent. In the hands of our great team trainer Robert McCracken there is no limit to his potential.

"You could see that from the way he boxed against Matt Scriven. He was lighter, but was in great control of the fight for every second of every round until the stoppage. He was so composed and his handspeed and range of punches was unbelievable, especially given his age – he only turned 20 just before Christmas.

"But still people don’t get it, or choose not to. They won’t be able to avoid the fact for much longer because I honestly believe he is in different league to both Khan and Mitchell.

"Only one pundit has seen John for what he really is and that’s Mike Costello, who knows what he’s talking about. He picked John out on Radio 5’s boxing hour at the end of last year as the one fighter who was going to make a surprise impact in 2006."

O’Donnell will continue that process this weekend when he takes on Belgian Zaid Bediouri over six rounds at the National Stadium in Dublin. Whilst he was born in England, his appearance will still be something of a ‘homecoming’ given his definite Irish roots.

"My parents are both from Galway," he explained. "I still have a lot of family over there and visit them all the time, so to box in Ireland will be something special. A good few of them are planning to make the trip and turn out for me.

"I boxed at the National Stadium a few times as an amateur. It was always very special; it’s a great arena and the people made me feel at home. I intend to get over there a few more times, especially when I have become a champion."

After another outing at the York Hall on Friday 17th February over 8 rounds, there is every chance O’Donnell will be travelling even further afield.

"John will box all over the world this year," Mick Hennessy added. "In addition to Ireland, the plan is for him to fight in Canada and also America on an Oscar de la Hoya show; Golden Boy Promotions are very excited about showcasing him.

"I plan to build him up in America because he fancies the job against Julio Cesar Chavez Junior, who has been making a bit of a name for himself over there."

Article posted on 26.01.2006

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