Shots from Jack Daniel’s have been responsible for sore heads the world over since 1875 and Leeds featherweight Jack Daniel has designs on inflicting migraines of his own, courtesy of his fizzing fists.
The 23 year old southpaw – unbeaten in two since debuting last October – is set to realise a life time’s dream of performing on the hallowed Elland Road turf graced by his Leeds United hero’s on Saturday week.
‘I like my footy and I try to get over to Leeds (United) whenever I get a chance. I dreamt of being on the pitch at Elland Road but my footy skills were never going to get me there!’ quips the former five-time national junior champion and England amateur international who features in a four rounder on the undercard of Josh Warrington’s IBF featherweight title challenge to Lee Selby.
‘This is the biggest night ever in Leeds for boxing so I’m really excited. I’ve really put the training in so there’s nothing to be nervous about. I’m just privileged to be a part of it.
‘We had no big names for ages but, right now, Leeds boxing is really on the up with Josh and Nicola (Adams, the dual Olympic champion who also features), plus Jack Bateson coming through.’
The Steve Wood-managed Yorkie youngster has been sharpening his tools ahead of his big night by operating as a spar hand to former British, Commonwealth and European 126lb boss Warrington and he predicts a triumphant night all round for the city.
‘I fancy Josh to win and not just because he’s a Leeds lad. Selby’s world class but I just believe it’s Josh’s time. He’s in his prime. Warrington on points, for me,’ predicts Daniel.
‘We spar all the time and he’s on a different level to me. It definitely benefits me more than it benefits Josh. But we’re same weight so perhaps one day I might be fighting him, perhaps here at Elland Road. That’s always at the back of the mind.’
Daniel’s journey to fighting at a football stadium began back in his primary school years.
‘I always had the desire to do it. When I was younger I was very ill disciplined but the boxing soon sorted that out,’ he explains.
‘My dad Paul boxed for England and my Uncle Michael won national schoolboy titles, I believe. Dad started me out on the pads in the garden before taking me to the gym. I had my first bout at 12.’
During an impressive 70 bout amateur innings (just eight losses), darting Daniel nabbed a junior ABA title and a record four national CYP crowns. He twice advanced to the Senior ABA final whilst still in his teens – edged out by Reece Bellotti (57kg, 2013) and Pat McCormack (60kg, 2014) – and scalped a number of outstanding future pro prospects such as Josh Kelly, Lyon Woodstock and Joe Maphosa (twice).
While this Jack Daniel might lack the kayo kick of the Tennessee liquor, he’s blessed with the southpaw slicks and savvy to leave opponent’s sore with frustration.
‘I’m a very tall southpaw, almost 5ft 10 (in), so it’s in my best interests to counter off the back foot,’says Jack the Jab whose high IQ extends beyond the ropes (11GSCEs, 4 ‘A’ levels and a 2:1 Honours degree in Finance and Accountancy from Leeds Beckett University!).
‘I like to capitalise on my amateur schooling but I’m definitely not weak for my size. I can have a fight if needed.
‘I couldn’t have asked for my pro career to have gone much better. My debut at the First Direct Arena was an absolute dream (a classy fourth round stoppage of Hungary’s Roland Petrovics) and, second start, I had a good learning fight with a very tough kid (Islington’s Jules Phillips, shut out over four). I’m really enjoying it.’
Having personally shifted over 200 tickets, joltin’ Jack can’t wait to be unleashed upon the Yorkshire faithful on May 19th.
‘I’ll not be chasing a knock out, just looking to box to the best of my ability,’ concludes Daniel, as balanced beyond the ropes as he is between.
‘Fans can look forward to the array of skills that I’ll bring to the table. I can do a bit of everything and I’m always entertaining to watch. My Latvian opponent (southpaw Zigurds Krauklis) brings exactly the same record as me so I’m assuming he’ll come and give it a go.
‘I don’t want to jump the gun but I believe I’ve the attributes to get to a British title at least, and possibly surpass that.’
Main event on a huge evening of boxing in Leeds sees IBF Featherweight World Champion Lee Selby defend his belt against bitter rival Josh Warrington; double Olympic Champion Nicola Adams OBE fights for the fourth time as a professional as she continues to work towards a World Title shot and undefeated Super-Welterweight rivals Darren Tetleyand Mason Cartwright clash for the Vacant WBO European title;
Chorley Super-Lightweight star Jack Catterall defends his WBO Intercontinental title; highly-ranked Hackney Super-Lightweight Ohara Davies takes on Frenchman Christopher Sebire on his highly-anticipated return; undefeated Leicester Super-Featherweight talent Lyon Woodstock; hard-hitting Oldham Middleweight Mark Heffron; Doncaster Featherweight Reece Mould; popular Leeds Bantamweight Jack Bateson and Olympic Silver Medallist Fred Evans complete an action-packed card.
General admission tickets for Selby v Warrington are available from just £40 per person.
Tickets are available to purchase online via the club’s official website www.leedsunited.com and via the Leeds United Ticket Office on 0371 334 1992