By: Oliver McManus
Jordan Gill suffered a shock first defeat of his career last night in Nottingham, retiring after the eighth round in a contest that he never truly got into. Enrique Tinoco was the plucky Mexican to catch Gill unawares and did so in punishing style with unsympathetic salvos to the body of the Chatteris featherweight.
On paper this should have been a walk in the park for Gill given the manner in which he brushed aside Ryan Doyle and Emmanuel Dominguez: before the first round started it was more a question of ‘can he get another knockout?’, not ‘will he win?’. Tinoco was in altogether different mindset and, having initially weighed in 5oz over the limit, looked the far bigger man.
That disparity in size was made immediately obvious as Tinoco looked to be carrying that exrta heft behind his punches. There were no surprises as to the speed of this fight as both men looked to establish themselves from the off: neither fighting ceding centre ground. Gill was far more orthodox in leading with the jab whilst Tinoco made use of garish angles to find his man.
Photo Credit: Matchroom Boxing Twitter Account
Issues arose when the challenger landed with regularity to Gill’s body; the home fighter visibly tensed with as the blows totted up. In the third round Tinoco set things up with a lovely punch to the liver before a quick flurry of punches, thrown with Tinoco marching forward, saw Gill hit the canvas.
From there on in the body was route one for his opposite number, exploiting his achilles heel, and Gill just could not live with them. Every time Tinoco shimmied towards the inside he found Gill an unmissable target – something wasn’t quite right about the 24 year old – and it was only matter of time before he fell once more. A right hook crashed home in the fifth and Gill was back on the seat of his pants.
This was not a one-sided affair such as Sergio Garcia vs Ted Cheeseman but Tinoco gaining in confidence with every passing round. Gill just didn’t look himself: we’ve seen Dave Coldwell’s prospect look far more assured than on Friday night. He did, in fairness, return in the seventh with a far more competent round as he scrambled for a foothold in a contest that was slipping through his fingers like sand in an hourglass.
Tijuana’s tactician respond in the only way he knew how with relentless pressure to assert his dominance. More body shots flooded Gill was immeasurable discomfort and, after being dropped in the eighth, Dave Coldwell opted to withdraw his charge. An understandable decision given the underwhelming nature of Gill’s performance: after the fight it emerged the former champion had suspected food poisoning but, whatever the reasoning, he just couldn’t find a rhythm.
A first for loss for Jordan Gill but in nowhere near as career-detrimental fashion as the likes of Ted Cheeseman; he’ll be back, he’s already proven his quality at this level, but he’ll have to take lessons from this fight if he is to push on.
The co-main event featured local sensation Leigh Wood finally getting the chance to put on big performance under the bright lights of his home city. The Commonwealth champion was defending his belt against, former holder, Ryan Doyle and this was, without a doubt, the stiffest challenge of his career since losing to Gavin McDonnell in 2014. A sixth round knockout, that reversal was the sole loss on Wood’s career whilst Doyle was looking to respond immediately from a seventh round TKO loss to Jordan Gill.
A contest that started cagily saw neither fighter willing to commit but Wood was showing more ringcraft as he settled on the backfoot, forcing to Doyle to try and close the distance – something he struggled to do. The defending champion looked to be at ease with the situation he found himself in whereas there was, perhaps, a sign of nerves from his challenger.
Wood found his feet early on and hit his stride after the tentative first round but gradually increased his application of pressure, tightening his grip on the contest. Confidence was never an issue for the local man who began to unfurl hook after hook to push his challenger up against the ropes and, when there, let his hands go with crisp accuracy and timing.
Doyle offered little to threaten his opponent and appeared to be a sitting duck, just waiting to drop from a sustained attack and the cork popped in the tenth round. Wood opened up the defence of his opponent through planted body shots before as clean a punch as you will ever see put the contest beyond all doubt. A ferocious counter left-hook twisted the head of Doyle, figuratively and literally, and that was that. Punch perfect from Ryan Doyle.
Big time boxing has been away from Nottingham for a little while but, if last night is anything to go by, it’ll be back very, very soon.
By: Oliver McManus
Eddie Hearn and Matchroom Boxing bring boxing back to the much-forgotten city of Nottingham this Friday, the first Sky show there since the heydays of Carl Froch. Boxing never truly went away, though, with shows being promoted regularly on a small-hall level and talents such as Ekow Essuman and Nina Bradley forcing their way into the spotlight.
Jordan Gill gets the honour of headlining at the Nottingham Arena with a defence of his WBA International title. The featherweight, 23-0, is one of the last fighters sticking by the old adage “20 for learning, 20 for earning”, with a patient development stretching back to his debut in 2012. Turning professional on his 18th birthday, the featherweight was a popular product on Sheffield and Peterborough shows, continually putting in mature performances to pick off rounds, and contests, with ease.
Not many had him down as someone with a big punch but, actually, as he’s got into the habit of making championship weight he’s begun to showcase his menace. Holding his punches well, the featherweight is on an impressive run of three straight knockouts (seven, in all) and has done so on each occasion through a simply ferocious body of punches. It’s that spite and aggression that, perhaps, you wouldn’t have seen at the beginning of his career.
His opponent, Enrique Tinoco, has been inactive since a six round victory in March, last year. His career has been blotted with various red and blue dots on Boxrec – five losses and four draws – without any real wins of note. In 2017 the Mexican was in the away corner for Devin Haney’s 17th contest and lost all eight rounds, comfortably so. Knocked out in 2014 by Miguel Roman, Tinoco kissed the canvas thrice in third round.
Easy on the eye and a joy to watch, it’s great to see Gill getting the backing from Matchroom and topping these NXT GEN cards. It’s only a matter of time before he becomes too big for these type of shows, however.
Local fighter Leigh Wood, from Gedling, will feature in the co-main event as he looks to defend his Commonwealth Featherweight title against Ryan Doyle. Wood won the belt, vacated by Gill, on March 2nd with a second round knockout against, over-matched, Abraham Osei Bonsu. He’s been knocking on the doors of a title for the last twelve, eighteen months having been made mandatory to the British at one point.
Similarly to Gill, Wood hasn’t rushed anything in his career and is now reaping the benefits. A sole loss to Gavin McDonnell is certainly no disgrace and the 31 year old has subsequently notched up wins against Josh Wale and Lee Glover to prove he’s beyond a domestic level. Naturally more of a heavy hitter than, his divisional counterpart, Gill has dropped his opponents on fourteen occasions and always seems to keep an extra something for these big fights.
Doyle, meanwhile, is coming off a loss to Gill – it all seems to tie together nicely – having formerly held this very Commonwealth title. Brought in as an away opponent for Reece Bellotti in June 2018, the Lancashire fighter was having none of it and duly set about dispatching Bellotti within five rounds and ending any hype or hope surrounding his opponent. The former champion, though, has done just as much of the groundwork as his adversary and has always leapt at opportunities – against Isaac Lowe, James Tennyson, Bellotti, Gill. We know, to an extent, what we’re getting from the 27 year old and that is, very simply, a proper boxer who leaves everything in the ring.
History shows, as well, he’s got a knack for revenge. Having suffered a last gasp knockout reversal to Ian Bailey, they met again and Doyle boxed his ears off for 10 rounds. Don’t bet against him doing the exact same and regaining his Commonwealth title. Now this is a pick’em.
On the undercard there are two fights that stand out, perhaps for obvious reasons, in Terri Harper vs Claudia Lopez and Fabio Wardley vs Dennis Lewandowski.
Harper was involved in an all British “super fight” against Nina Bradley earlier in the year – what should have been a watershed moment for women’s boxing in the country – and is leading the charge despite being just 22 years of age. She’ll look to defend her WBC International title but, my word, does she have a sensational future ahead of her.
Wardley is one of those heavyweights going under the radar and, for a guy announced in fight wek, his opponent is no slouch. Having been in with Tom Schwarz and Cyril Leonet, albeit losing both, Lewandowski knows his way around the ring but Wardley should have enough to see him off inside the distance.
Don’t go far because boxing is back in Nottingham and, if they’ve any sense, it won’t be leaving anytime soon.