27-02.07 – Hennessy Sports promoted John O’Donnell faces Stuart Elwell for the vacant English welterweight title at the Nottingham Arena on March 23rd, glad that someone has at last agreed to box him. A series of experienced fighters have turned down the chance to face O’Donnell, who is becoming arguably the most avoided boxer in Britain..
O’Donnell, who has only just turned 21, has a growing army of admirers. He had a stellar junior amateur career, claiming Olympic gold and two ABA titles, and has racked up 14 wins as a professional with his slick southpaw style and machine gun combinations.
O’Donnell can now win his first pro title if he defeats fellow unbeaten puncher Elwell on the Hennessy Sports ‘Cobra’s Hood’ event being headlined by British and Commonwealth super middleweight champion Carl Froch.
Promoter Mick Hennessy cannot be accused of over-protecting O’Donnell. He has attempted to match the Shepherds Bush boxer with more experienced fighters, only to be presented with a series of excuses.
Chingford’s Michael Lomax pulled out of a Southern Area title fight against O’Donnell and Crawley’s Ross Minter vacated his English title after O’Donnell was made his mandatory challenger.
Another boxer who did not fancy the risk of facing the slippery southpaw was Yorkshireman James Hare, who gave up the chance to meet O’Donnell for the vacant crown after being nominated as co-challenger by the Boxing Board of Control.
Young Muttley was then mandated as co-challenger, but his camp pulled out of the purse bid for the English Championship.
Manchester’s Matthew Hatton is another who has conveniently declined the invitation to face the less experienced O’Donnell. His team have regularly stated that their man is to contest an eliminator for a British Title, but turned down the potential opportunity to do so against O’Donnell.
However, Elwell, 29, (9-0) has stepped forward and O’Donnell has praised the Midlands boxer for showing more courage than other higher-ranked, higher-profile boxers.
“It has been frustrating with people not wanting to fight me and pulling out,” O’Donnell said. “I was meant to be boxing Ross Minter and that would have been a good one which I was beginning to look forward to, but it never happened. I think Minter knew I was going to expose him. And then there were others.
“I thought I was never going to get the chance to box anyone for a title but now it’s on and I’m looking forward to it. Credit to Elwell for taking the fight, because others haven’t.
“Perhaps the others just didn’t want to risk putting their reputation on the line. Some people try to down play me, but I think the fighters know my ability.
“I would box anyone in the British welterweight division right now and would beat any one of them. I want to win this English title and then fight for the British title later this year – I’m definitely ready for it.
“Kevin Anderson is the British champion right now and I would fight him tomorrow. Then there’s Eamonn Magee and Takaloo. I think I’m capable of beating the pair of them already in style.
“This title will be a good stepping stone for me. We are both unbeaten southpaws and it will be a good fight for me to win and then hopefully get a final eliminator for the British.”
Promoter Mick Hennessy sees an exciting future ahead for O’Donnell, who is tipped by experts to be named Young Boxer of Year in 2007.
“No one fancies it because they know what a brilliant talent John is. He is fast becoming the most avoided fighter in Britain,” said Hennessy. “But this first title will be a step towards much bigger things. With everybody avoiding him they way they are, I think after this fight he should be in pole position to fight for the British Title.”
Hennessy Sports Proudly Present
Friday 23rd March 2007
Tickets priced £25, £40, £60 and £80 available on 0870 121 0123
12×3 International Super Middleweight Contest
Carl Froch vs. Sergey Tatevosyan
10×3 English Welterweight Championship
John O’Donnell vs. Stuart Elwell
(Shepherds Bush) (Darlaston)
John Murray vs. TBA
10×3 Midland Area Welterweight Championship
Tyan Booth vs. Darren Gethin
6×3 Super Middleweight
Amer Khan vs. TBA
6×3 Light Heavyweight
Rod Anderton vs. TBA
4×3 Light Middleweight
Adnan Amar vs. TBA
4×3 Light Heavyweight
Adie Whitmore vs. TBA