British super bantamweight Gavin McDonnell is hoping victory over Alexander Egorov on March 28 will catapult him into contention to face one of the big names at 122lbs.
The 28 year-old battles the Ukrainian for the vacant European title on the Kell Brook v Jo Jo Dan undercard in Sheffield and says his recent performance against Vusi Malinga shows that he is now ready to make the big step-up.
“Coming off the draw with Josh Wale, to go into a big fight like that against Malinga is what I needed to show where I belong,” said McDonnell. “Pulling off a big win off like that has done me the world of good and I am proud that I stepped up to the plate when I needed to.
“We knew what Vusi was. He isn’t the fastest on his feet when you are up against him. We thought if we kept it long he would have problems with movement and that was the game plan was; keep it long, use my height and my reach and win plenty of rounds that way.
“The fight was about getting the confidence for myself and showing other people that I do belong at that level. I had seen Vusi fight and coming off the draw I said to Stefy Bull ‘that is a fight I would be confident in’. Stefy put it to Eddie Hearn and he was able to pull it off.”
McDonnell’s twin brother Jamie has already enjoyed double world title success in the bantamweight ranks and Gavin is fully confident that he can follow in his siblings footsteps and make it a family affair at the top of the sport.
“I believe I can be a World champion,” he stated. “I have seen first-hand with Jamie that it can be achieved if you put the work in. The confidence is there and I am willing to put the work in, so it is about getting the right fights at the right times. I know I am not a world-class operator but I am willing to mix it and learn and I am hoping that one day I can get a chance at a World title and win one.
“At the minute we are both on a mission, picking up as many belts and having as many achievements as we can. When we do retire we will be able to sit down and say we did this, we did that, and I think that is when we will appreciate what we managed to achieve.”
McDonnell has a wealth of talented on his path to fulfilling his dream though, not least in the UK, as the likes of Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg already hold recognised belts in his division. The Doncaster man is eager to show he belongs at the same level though and knows a win against Egorov is imperative.
“The likes of Quigg and Frampton are fighting at a top level and won’t be looking back at kids like me coming through and I don’t expect them too. At the moment they are a level above me but it is my goal to get to a level when I can mix it with them and I believe in time those fights will happen. It is down to me to earn those fights; I am a firm believer that everybody has to earn their right and I haven’t earned mine yet. I have to keep working away, get bigger fights and get up the rankings.
“By the time those fights come along I will be more confident but as it is at the minute they have a lot more experience than me,” added McDonnell.
Tickets for Brook v Dan, featuring McDonnell v Egorov, can be purchased at standard prices here