CHATTERIS boxer Jordan Gill graduated from amateur to professional at the Motorpoint Arena in Sheffield on Saturday and caught the eye of a former world champion as he outpointed Kristian Laight.
Jim Watt, the former lightweight champion who had 38 wins from 46 fights, was ringside with Sky Sports and told me: “I was very impressed with Jordan. He boxed well throughout and kept himself out of trouble against a more experienced fighter. It was a very good debut for the lad.”
Father Paul, also Jordan’s coach for the last 10 years, was also close to the ropes and happy with what he he saw too. “He was up against a spoiler but did very well against him. I was always confident he would do all right and he boxed well, but there is still a long way to go.”
It was only six days earlier that Gill had celebrated his 18th birthday, but he was more than a match for his experienced opponent 32-year-old Laight, a veteran of 137 bouts, as he won all four two-minute rounds with a 40-36 points victory.
Many of the 12,000 crowd expected for the top of the bill Kell Brook v Carson Jones world title eliminator, had not taken their seats when Gill entered the ring for the first time as a professional, but he still received a rapturous cheers from his 100 plus Chatteris fans.
Gill, who finished his amateur career as Junior ABA Champion in May, certainly did not show any nerves about the occasion and from the ring of the first bell was always the more aggressive of the two fighters.
He was certainly determined to take command as he sent of a barrage of combinations to head and body that soon had Laight heading into a corner.
He did catch Laight with one good blow to the chin that had the Nuneaton fighter murmuring “good shot” as he tried to hide the pain.
Laight was more concerned with his own preservation and rarely troubled the young lad from the Fens, who is following in the footsteps of those two great Chatteris sluggers Eric Boon and Dave Boy Green, who both became British champions..
Gill won the first round and the story was little different in the round two as the youngster, six pounds lighter than his opponent plus short of plenty of experience, continued on the front foot. Another good right hand to the body had Laight wincing again and although the Nuneaton fighter did catch Gill a couple of times in retaliation it hardly stopped the flow of punches raining in on him.
The Chatteris lad, fighting for the first time without a vest and headgear, again dominated the third round and by the start of the fourth round only a knock down could halt his first professional win.
That was far from likely as Gill went forward again for the last two minutes and continued to dominate with his quick hands and stylish boxing.
It was no real surprise that referee Michael Alexander raised Gill’s hand high as soon as the final bell was sounded giving the Chatteris army of fans a key to celebrate once more.
For Gill, who only completed his A-level exams just over two weeks before the fight, it was the first step on what he hopes may be a long journey.
And he was delighted with his first efforts and said: “I was really pleased with that. I caught with him with a really good body punch early on to the chin and he did not want to know after that. I could see his eyes go and he just wanted to survive then . He did catch me a couple of times but I feel great and can’t wait for the next fight. I may celebrate with a Burger King.
“There were no nerves before the fight. Usually when I was fighting as an amateur I had a two-hour drive but tonight my flat was only three minutes away and after watching Serena Williams win at Wimbledon I left the flat and was ready and in the ring half an hour later.
“It was a bit weird not wearing the headgear and vest and also fighting two minute rounds. But I just carried out what Dominic Ingle told me and he is the best so he knows.
“I am back in the gym on Monday and then the following week I am at the Cromwell College for Olympic week and teaching boxing to 11-15-year-old and then off to Magaluf for a week’s holiday with my mates. Then there will be training in Fuerteventura.”
Ingle, who has now taken over Gill’s management, was suitably impressed too: “I think he boxed well against an experienced pro who knows all the tricks. He handled him very well and when he threatened soon came up with good punches to take control again.
“His father Paul has done a very good job with him and I am really just honing in on his skills and help bring a bit more power. He has got lots of potential and will box again at the start of September here in Sheffield and then have a bout in Norwich in early October.”