Gavin McDonnell says he can handle the step-up to international class against Vusi Malinga on Saturday night at the Ice Arena in Hull, live on Sky Sports.
McDonnell has yet to face overseas opposition in his 13-fight career and comes into the fight after drawing in his last outing when he defended his British Super Bantamweight title against Josh Wale.
The South African World title contender returns to the UK after losing out to Stuart Hall for the IBF Bantamweight title in December. Malinga has challenged Leo Santa Cruz and Hozumi Hasegawa for World honours and McDonnell is excited to be mixing with the experienced southpaw as he bids to enter the World scene.
“I am relishing getting in there and showing people what I am about,” said McDonnell. “I was a bit down about the last fight because it was a draw and nobody wants a draw because it isn’t a win. I asked for a big name. Not many people would probably go in there with Malinga who guarantees a 12-round fight but I am not scared to have a fight and I want to prove myself against the best and he is up there, and it is a massive step-up for me. All being well I will get the win then we can sit down and see where we go.
“I would never take this fight lightly, he has a lot more experience than me; I think he has had 18 12-round fights. I wanted to make a decent step onto the international scene. I have seen a few of his fights and I watched him against Stuart Hall and said I would fight him. Stefy Bull said he would put that to them and that is how it got made. I am in this game to get to the top and if you want to be the best you have to beat the best and I am not scared to get in there with kids who on paper are better than me because I have only had 13 fights. I am not scared to get in there and put everything on the line because that is what boxing is all about.
“There can still be some good domestic fights in the future if everyone keeps winning but I haven’t thought too much about where we go from here because it is a big, big fight for me and you can’t really think ahead of this. Malinga gave Stuart Hall the fight of his life. You get carried away in your head but that is just daydreaming when I am out running because I know I have got a tough ask and I am just focussing on that to be honest.
“Vusi seems a strong, come-forward fighter. We have a game plan and we will stick to that and hopefully get the win. He doesn’t put speedy combinations together, he throws a lot of hooks and a lot of jabs and seems very strong. I need to stay out of the way of those strong shots and counter him.”
McDonnell’s clash with Malinga is part of a great line up of action in Hull, where Tommy Coyle defends his IBF International Lightweight title against ‘The Great’ Michael Katsidis and Luke Campbell MBE clashes with Daniel Brizuela, who returns to the scene of his February war with Coyle.
Samir Mouniemne continues on the path back to title contention and the show also sees a showcase of local talent with Nathon Smith, Tom Knight, Charlie Payton and Connor Seymour plus Liverpool’s Robbie Davies Jnr.
Tickets are on sale now priced £40, £60 and £120 for VIPs and are available from Matchroom Sport on 01277 359900 and at www.matchroomboxing.com