26.02.07 – Hennessy Sports promoted John O’Donnell, who fights for the English welterweight boxing championship on March 23rd, has been described as the outstanding rising talent in Britain by British and Commonwealth super middleweight champion Carl Froch. O’Donnell, 21, faces Stuart Elwell (9-0) for the vacant belt on the Hennessy Sports ‘Cobra’s Hood’ event at the Nottingham Arena as chief support to Froch’s 12 round international super-middleweight contest against highly ranked Russian Sergey Tatevosyan..
O’Donnell, who is based in Shepherds Bush and has strong Galway ancestry, is attracting more attention with every fight thanks to his made for TV slick southpaw boxing skills, machine gun combinations and composure.
After 14 wins, O’Donnell goes for his first title against fellow unbeaten puncher Elwell, of Darlaston, on the event being screened live by Sky Sports.
O’Donnell is trained by Robert McCracken at the same east London Hennessy Sports gym as British and Commonwealth champion Froch, who rates his gym partner highly after numerous sparring sessions.
Undefeated Froch should know a good fighter when he sees one. He is ranked in the top five by three major world governing bodies, but admits O’Donnell has still been able to give him good spars.
“John is the best thing coming through in British boxing right now,’ he said. “For 21 years of age, the moves he has got are just phenomenal.
“People will say I’m biased because I know him, but it’s because I’ve sparred with him that I can say this and I tip him for really big things in the future.
“There’s not many who could spar with me and take it like he does and hold their own, considering he is so much lighter. I pick him out from all the other boxers coming through in this country as the most outstanding talent.
“His skill level and his ring ability are incredible. He puts combinations together and you don’t know where they are coming from.
“People are talking about the likes of Amir Khan and David Haye as ones for the future. While they are good talents, I think John possesses far more potential and natural ability. A lot of people have yet to realise that, but they will soon. I think the people of Nottingham will really take to him next month.”
The Shepherds Bush fighter had a distinguished amateur career that convinced promoter Mick Hennessy to snap him up as a professional. John won Junior Olympic gold, Junior Four Nations gold, and was twice a Junior ABA champion.
“We have got some very interesting fights planned for John. He is going to get a lot of International experience this year. Although he has only just turned 21, there is already big interest from broadcasters in America and Canada,” said Hennessy. “John is a fantastic prospect, a phenomenal talent.”