Of all the Christmas presents Jamie McDonnell expected to receive, he did not count on being delivered a reality check.
The former undefeated IBF bantamweight king admitted he may have somewhat underestimated opponent Abigail Medina heading into their bout at London’s ExCel Arena on Saturday night.
And although victorious over the Spain-based fighter, the bout provided some major lessons he will do well to put on his list of New Year resolutions.
The road back to world title glory will not be as smooth a ride as the Hatfield bantamweight would have hoped.
McDonnell admitted he found it difficult to find the required motivation for a bout which had no real prize at the end of it.
Though understandable after nine straight fights with major titles on the line, the 27-year-old must get his focus right and see the bigger picture.
Thankfully it was a reflective McDonnell who made his way back to the dressing room. On the positives he can look back on a 15th consecutive victory, a win over a kid who is better than his stacked record would suggest.
Medina was strong and smart, boxing on the counter superbly to expose slack defence from McDonnell.
Although the Domincan Republic-born fighter landed a number of clean shots, he never really hurt or truly troubled McDonnell.
That said, he denied himself the chance to see if he could turn up the heat in the sixth round after following up a stinging body shot with a low blow that handed McDonnell time to recover.
McDonnell had started the bout well, cautiously boxing at distance in the first using the jab.
A big right hook in the second was a rattler while McDonnell’s trademark body shots started to open the door. But Medina stepped up his effort in the third, forcing the issue rather than working on the counter.
McDonnell probably boxed his smartest round in the fourth but things did not really flow for him again in the fifth when he was caught clean with a big swinging left.
Medina seemed to be in the ascendancy after a strong sixth but McDonnell finished well over the last two rounds, showing good footwork and successful counter punching. Referee Richie Davies’ final 78-75 verdict could easily have been closer but McDonnell knows he was let off with a warning.
Earlier on a packed night at the ExCel, Edlington cruiserweight John Anthony was stopped in three by Prizefighter winner Wadi Camacho while Barnsley light welterweight Ben Wager saw his night cut short early by the undefeated Martin Ward.
On Friday night, Rossington’s Maxi Hughes continued his steady progress with a technical win over Andy Harris at iceSheffield.
An accidental clash of heads in the fifth left Harris cut over his left eye and the bout was stopped under the advice of the ringside doctor.
Heading to the scorecards, lightweight Hughes took a 49-46 triumph to move to 10-1-1.