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Commonwealth crown is Watson John's agenda

PUBLISHED: 13:50 08 April 2009 | UPDATED: 13:31 24 August 2010

By Ziad Chaudry JOHN O Donnell will have his work cut out when he attempts to grab the Commonwealth welterweight title off fellow southpaw Craig Watson this Saturday. In his first outing for nearly five months, the softly spoken 23-year-old from Shepherd

By Ziad Chaudry

JOHN O'Donnell will have his work cut out when he attempts to grab the Commonwealth welterweight title off fellow southpaw Craig Watson this Saturday.

In his first outing for nearly five months, the softly spoken 23-year-old from Shepherd's Bush is keen to make up for lost time and impress in front of a live TV audience at York Hall.

O'Donnell had his sights on a British title shot, but that was scuppered when Young Mutley pulled out of their planned eliminator in Nottingham last December.

Watson, 26, has not fought for nearly a year since successfully defending his title against Matthew Hatton - younger brother of boxing superstar Ricky - and that could theoretically work in O'Donnell's favour.

The Oldham-born boxer has won 13 of his 15 appearances and claimed the Commonwealth title by halting Namibia's Ali Nuumbembe in December 2007.

But O'Donnell, who recorded his 20th pro success in November when he stopped Suleyman Dag in Dublin, believes victory this weekend will help propel him towards the top of the British and European ratings.

"I've a lot of respect for Watson because he's a tricky southpaw and I think he's underrated," said O'Donnell. "But I'm confident I can do a job on him.

"Training's going perfectly and I'm really stepping up my sparring now, so by fight night I should be in the best shape of my life.

"I believe I can go all the way but I want to do things traditionally and work my way up through the titles."

On the same bill - live on ITV4 from 7.30pm - O'Donnell's former Dale Youth ABC colleague, unbeaten light-middleweight Steve O'Meara, takes on Deptford's Louis Byrne.


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