30.03.07 – Britain’s most avoided fighter John O’Donnell believes that he should be in the shakedown for the British welterweight title this summer. The standout 21-year-old confirmed his credentials with an impressive win over fellow undefeated puncher Stuart Elwell last Friday to claim the English championship on the Hennessy Sports and GoldenPalace.com ‘Cobra’s Hood’ event at the Nottingham Arena. It seems, however, that in order to get a tilt at the British he will have to wait for the Championship to be contested on two more occasions..
Current champion Kevin Anderson meets Belfast veteran Eamonn Magee in Kirkcaldy next month and the next challenger is already being lined up, with Ross Minter meeting Colin McNeil on the 26th May in London in a final eliminator.
“I am a bit upset about this whole situation,” admitted O’Donnell, who has sent Minter and Matthew Hatton running for cover, amongst others. “Where no-one would face me, I have been keen to fight a final eliminator. My promoter Mick Hennessy even asked for the Elwell fight to double up as one.
“Instead Ross Minter has been nominated. I feel that I am more deserving; I have been prepared to fight anyone. He had the English Title, but never defended it. He pulled out of two fights against Alan Bosworth with different injuries.
“Then he was meant to defend against me, but gave up the title instead. It feels a bit like he’s been rewarded for avoiding me. It doesn’t really make any sense. Now I have to sit here and watch him in a final eliminator.
“I’m not even sure he appreciates the opportunity; he’s got a final eliminator scheduled and he’s boxing on that Contender show tonight. If anything goes wrong with that, I want to jump in as the next in line. Minter has pulled out of fights before.
“If his fight with McNeil is going ahead, we are going to ask the Board to put me in another final eliminator straight away, with the winner fighting for the title within 90 days of the next two defences happening.”
O’Donnell added: “I would love it to be against Matthew Hatton. His team have talked about making this and that eliminator for a while now, but everything goes quiet when my name is mentioned.
“He wants to get real. I have seen the talk about him fighting Gatti when he’s been avoiding me. I’ve had half the fights Hatton’s had and I am four years younger, so come on here I am.”
Whilst O’Donnell showed his undoubted potential last time out, he claims he could have knocked out the previously unbeaten Elwell.
“He was tough and kept coming at me,” said John. “I thought I could have taken him out if the ref had warned him again for holding, but he didn’t. He warned me about going in with my shoulder and I stopped it, but Elwell was holding from the fourth so I couldn’t get to him.
“He started well and I’ve got the habit of starting slowly but I caught up with him in the middle rounds and he couldn’t stand the pressure. I started unloading combinations and once I let my hands go, no one knows where there coming from.
“I hurt him in the fourth and he was all over the place, but he just held from then on.”