Thrill Ride: Jordan Gill is happy again

By Elliot Worsell

THERE was a time in Jordan Gill’s life – not long ago, in fact – when everything went silent. It was not a peaceful silence, either, this silence, but instead a silence Gill attributed to failure and to isolation and to disappearing. It followed him wherever he went, alas. It was, for a time, the only thing that did. Gone, you see, were the distractions which ordinarily broke the silence: ringing phones, buzzers in gyms, the voices of friends. Gone, too, was Jordan Gill – almost.

Then, however, there was at last some noise. The noise of concern. The noise of someone coming to help. The noise, finally, of Belfast boxing fans applauding his efforts in beating their man, Michael Conlan, inside seven rounds.

Suddenly, the silence had gone; that is, the scary silence, the deadly silence. In its place now was not only a cacophony of noise, the kind connected with celebration and success, but also a new kind of silence; one more commonly associated with contentment and, yes, even peace; the silence within.

“You ride high after a win for a certain amount of time,” Gill told Boxing News, “but then you think, Right, come on then. What’s next?”

Next for Gill, known as “The Thrill”, was an interruption. “Sorry,” he said, pausing our interview to entertain a well-wisher at the gym. “Just give me a second.”

In this time Gill expertly dealt with said well-wisher, doing so with all the grace and gratitude of someone who can remember a time when he was ignored; when everything was silent. “Ah, thank you very much,” he said as the man wished him luck for his fight on Saturday. “Yeah, I’m buzzing for it,” he then added when asked if he was looking forward to it.

Soon back with me, Gill would now remark on this newfound attention by saying, “Yeah, it’s weird,” and laughed. “Oh well,” he said. “It is what it is.” He then returned to where he had left off: “I felt like it was a career-changing win (against Conlan) and I think we’re going to go on a good run now. Saturday is the start of it.”

That’s another sound Gill now hears, by the way: interruptions leading to salutations. It’s a welcome development in a career fought primarily in the shadows and in silence, and it is, as is usually the case in boxing, indicative of him doing well and finding popularity.

The Conlan win, for example, would be a good enough victory on its own, yet it was the manner of it which seemed to resonate with so many people. For one, Gill went against type and took the fight to Conlan in Conlan’s hometown, essentially beating the Irishman at his own game. Secondly, Gill, a pre-fight underdog, pulled off a victory very few were predicting beforehand, the magnitude of which could be seen on his face at the fight’s conclusion.


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