By Oliver McManus @OliverGMcManus
This coming Friday, Jack Kilgannon (Oldham, 9-0) will fight for the first title of his professional career when he faces John Telford for the vacant Central Area Middleweight title.
The belt has been held by esteemed local names, Pat Dwyer vs Brendan Ingle the most notable of fights, but Kilgannon looks to be the first to turn regional honours into more tangible, national success. He started off by explaining the background behind the fight.
“I was boxing on the 11th May (against Serge Ambomo) and two or three week before it Steve Wood (Kilgannon’s manager) had hinted there’d be a title shot afterwards. I’ve not watched much of John Telford before this, to be honest, but Ben (Lancaster, Kilgannon’s coach) agreed to it straight away and that was as much as I needed. Once Ben is confident that I can do it then, no questions asked, he’s my mentor and can put me in the right direction. “
The full time joiner, based at the infamous ‘Shed’ with Ben Lancester, has found himself in a fine run of momentum throughout 2019 with victories over Geraint Goodridge and Serge Ambomo teeing himself up nicely for his Central Area crack.
“I’ve done four six rounders and every one of them have been against tough guys, they’ve all been slightly different to the last and I’ve picked up little things from each of them. It hasn’t been six rounds for the sake of it because I’ve learned from them all and the last two (against Goodridge and Ambomo) have been the best I’ve ever boxed. Serge Ambomo is a bit of a puncher, we knew that, and I was able to adapt when he tried to make things a little bit sticky whereas Geraint Goodridge was more rangey and tested my boxing skills more. That’s set me up perfectly, I think, for this fight because I know I can adapt.”
Two big bollocks doesn’t always help
That adaptability is something the 23 year old expects to be a key factor in the fight, at Planet Ice Altrincham, despite Telford claims it would be down to “who has the bigger bollocks”.
“At the end of the day it’s down to who wants it more and a pair of bollocks can get you through a fight but it helps a fair bit if you’ve got the talent and skill to match it. Having two big bollocks doesn’t always help, either, it can make you stubborn and I think this is going to come down to just who is the better boxer and who is more adaptable.”
And training for this fight has seen Kilgannon in the gym for a solid eight weeks where he has sparred alongside the likes of Bradley Rea, Jack Flatley and Jack McGann. To help shake things up, though, the lifelong Oldham Athletic fan was roped along to put the Latics’ youth squad through their paces.
“One of my coaches, Dave Rafferty, has got a friend at the club who works with the Youth team and they arranged a bit of a coaching session for the guys. It was good publicity to get a picture with them and put them through the pads but it helped for me just to mix it up and stay fresh.
“You can get quite stale staying in one place”, he continued, “so it was good to take a part of training to a different location. I’ve got a staff called Herbert, and he lives up to his name, because that’s what my Grandad used to call me. In between sessions I’ll go for a big three, four mile walk with him to clear my mind and keep it ticking over.”
The chance to inflict a defeat on his Flixton-based opponent is one that Kilgannon finds himself relishing – not through personal dislike towards Telford but rather the ambition to further his career and ‘open some heavy doors’. With all of that being said we ended our conversation by discussing how his gut felt the fight would play out.
“He’s a come forward fighter who likes an overhand right and a long left hook so that’s the danger areas but we’re not going to let him have that opportunity. He’s very strong so we’ve been working on improving what I’m already good at because that’s what we can control; I feel I’m a lot better with my footwork than John so we’ve not parked that to one side but we’ve worked on that even more.
We don’t want to be focussing too much on what we expect him to do because he might do something different – I know in every fight I try do something different to catch my opponent off guard. I’m not giving any more details away but I’m going to win. I’ll tell you that for free.”
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