Boxer Gavin McDonnell’s wife has spoke of her ‘fear and nerves’ during his fight on Saturday, after fellow fighter Scott Westgarth died of his injuries after a match in Doncaster last month.
Sophie McDonnell, 28, said: “The news of Scott hit us so hard as it was so close to home and he was in the same line of work as Gav.
“I was more nervous for Gav’s fight with Gamal Yafai on Saturday than I was for his WBC world title fight against Jessie Vargas.”
She asked her husband if boxing was worth dying for and said: “He was just silent, I know he did question it.”
“We want every boxer to go home safe to their family at the end of the night. But then you know Scott would not want anyone to stop chasing their dreams.”
Scott Westgarth, 31, beat Dec Spelman on a points decision in their light heavyweight bout at the The Dome in Doncaster on 24 February, but died of his wounds the next day in the Royal Hallamshire Hospital.
Sheffield based super-bantamweight boxer Mr McDonnell, who has won 19 out of 22 fights, beat his Brummie opponent on Saturday night as he took the WBC International title on a points decision at the FlyDSA arena in Sheffield.
Pregnant Mrs McDonnell, who also mothers four year-old Carter, said: “His twin brother Jamie came to pick him up and I had a cry as he was leaving- I just wanted to stay home and wait for the result.
“I get full of pride when he makes his ring walk, but then I wish the rounds away.”
She said during the fight she kept looking at former WBC Silver International lightweight champion Tommy Coyle for reassurance, who gave her the thumbs up after each round.
“The relief I felt when the bell rang to end the 12th round, knowing he had won without severe injury, was amazing,” she said.
“I love watching him celebrate with all his team,” she added.
— Gavin Mcdonnell (@bigtwinnygav) March 5, 2018
Bookies had Mr McDonnell, 32, as the underdog in his clash with 26-year-old Mr Yafai and his wife said this caused doubt, no matter her belief in him.
Mrs McDonnell said: “We knew this was a make or break for Gavin as he had to win to keep his dream alive, which made me so so nervous.”
She said: “I know it would have devastated Gav losing to Gamal, as he’s not ready to hang the gloves up just yet.”
She added: “Fans just see the fighters turn up on the night. I am there 24/7. I see all the preparation that goes into a training camp. The diet, dedication, hours a day training and all the days and nights out Gavin misses out on with family and friends.”
Mrs McDonnell met her husband before he was a professional fighter in Doncaster and said it changed both their lives.
Mr McDonnell has a twin called Jamie who is the WBA regular world-bantamweight champion and they train together at the English Institute of Sport in Sheffield.