By Daniel Cann
In a Hennessey Sports promotion, John O’Donnell, the Commonwealth Welterweight Champion, was due to defend the title he won in April in a close fight with Craig Watson. Unfortunately due to O’Donnell failing to make the Welterweight limit (he came in at ten stone seven and three quarter pounds) the fight became a non-title affair (although it remained a scheduled twelve rounder). O’Donnell’s opponent was Tom Glover, the affable bricklayer and consummate professional from Maldon, Essex, who had recently outpointed Jon Thaxton.
The Shepherds Bush man, O’Donnell needed a comprehensive and impressive showcase for his talents, particularly with a television audience on ITV4 watching. He certainly looked like a man wanting to prove a point during the preliminary ring introductions.
From the get go, neither man wasted any time looking for openings as they both went on the offensive. Glover particularly tried to get in close and force the pace, perhaps wary of the disparity in height and reach (he was giving away about five inches in both). O’Donnell circled and landed a few decent body shots. Glover kept hooking and looked to drive his rangier opponent to the ropes. O’Donnell landed a decent left – right combination and already his superior hand-speed was evident. A right hand from the Commonwealth Champion seemed to freeze Glover right in his tracks.
Glover soon regained his composure and was on the offensive with a sweeping right hook. He also tried a right uppercut on the inside. O’Donnell responded well with a decent looking uppercut of his own close to the bell to end an absorbing and entertaining first round.
It was noticeable early in the second that O’Donnell was looking to keep it at range as he stood off and jabbed, picking his shots well. Glover again kept ploughing forward, the only way he knows how to fight. O’Donnell for the first time began to tee off on his opponent showing some impressive combinations and hand speed. A great right from O’Donnell hurt Glover, again stopping him in his tracks. O’Donnell doubled up on his hooks and Glover had to soak up a lot of leather, it later emerged that he had his nose broke in this round. The second ended with O’Donnell peppering his brave opponent without reply.
The third saw O’Donnell moving well and doubling his jab. Glover continued his remorseless forward offensive, his gloves held high, but time and again he was being picked off by the fast and accurate Commonwealth Champion.
Referee Richie Davies warned O’Donnell for some low looking body shots, but I suppose what with the height difference and Glover’s crouching style it was inevitable that there may be some borderline stuff.
Glover’s nose was bloodied about halfway into the round and jabs and hooks continued to crash through his guard as O’Donnell’s fists were a blur. The brave Essex man was beginning to look a little ragged, but still he came forward for more.
The fourth saw more of the same, O’Donnell had the full measure of his opponent and looked completely in control. Glover kept throwing hooks at his taller, younger and faster tormentor. He did have some success this round to the body and landed a nice right hook to the head but had to take a classy left uppercut in return. It was simply a case of O’Donnell having far more in his arsenal.
The fifth saw Glover showing dogged determination as he tried to back O’Donnell to the ropes. The Champion was having none of it and he muscled his way back to centre ring.
O’Donnell picked up another warning from Davies for using the back of his fist (he tended to flick with it at times). The main story of the round saw O’Donnell controlling things with his jab and picking his shots as Glover came into range. O’Donnell was in complete control and totally untroubled.
The sixth saw a marked difference in the boxers with Glover looking increasingly ragged, his attacks looking crude and disorganised. He did land a few good right hands but nothing that troubled O’Donnell. For the most part his shots just seemed to bounce off the taller man.
Glover’s nose was soon bleeding freely again courtesy of O’Donnell’s snapping jab. Hurtful looking body shots whipped in, forcing Glover to momentarily drop his guard. O’Donnell was switching effectively to head and body and it was becoming very one-sided indeed. Glover had success with a stiff right but it was not enough to stop the onslaught.
The Maldon fighter was getting outworked and out-boxed. He had shown tremendous resilience and bravery but was shipping a little too much punishment now and it was a relief to see Richie Davies showing compassion and wisdom as he stepped between the fighters to stop the contest at 2 minutes 43 seconds of the round after Glover was sent back to the ropes courtesy of a stiff straight right.
No one argued with the stoppage, O’Donnell was simply in a different class to his brave opponent. I could not recall any point in the fight where O’Donnell looked troubled. He can look forward to contesting more titles and looked the business once again after his torrid, close fight with Craig Watson. Maybe they could have a rematch?
As for the likeable Glover he can hold his head high. He has had a remarkable year mixing with the likes of a former British, Commonwealth and European Lightweight Champion in Jon Thaxton and now a Commonwealth Welterweight Champion. He admitted his level and limitations as such after the contest when he expressed an interest in contesting the English title. No one will begrudge him that.