YOU would have been hard pressed to know Jamie McDonnell had gone over seven months without a fight after his classy victory over Darwin Zamora.
The Hatfield puncher showed few signs of ring rust as he stopped Zamora, a late replacement for Vusi Malinga, in round eight.
Standing in McDonnell’s dressing room less than a quarter of an hour after he sent Zamora packing, the Doncaster star barely had a bruise on his face despite taking several heavy blows.
In seeing off the challenge of southpaw Zamora, who usually fights at super flyweight, McDonnell has also created history. In 2013, he will become the first Doncaster boxer to battle it out for a globally recognised world title. McDonnell, aged 26, is set to face either Leo Santa Cruz or Victor Zaleta stateside.
An emotional McDonnell described reaching this point in his career as an “unbelievable” feeling.
“I have won every single title going from English to British to European to Commonwealth and defended them all,” he said. “It is great; absolutely unbelievable.”
The Nicaraguan caught McDonnell with a meaty left hook and a neat little jab in the second round.
McDonnell responded by mixing up his tactics in the third, opting to disrupt Zamora’s rhythm by going inside and he landed a superb uppercut.
As the contest wore on, the home favourite started to duck and weave more of what Zamora had to offer. McDonnell appeared, more often than not, to be one step ahead of his opponent and his shots certainly seemed to be more potent and accurate.
A five-strong combination from McDonnell in the corner rocked Zamora in the sixth and he developed a cut on his left eyelid. The 24-year-old hurt McDonnell with a body shot but Zamora decided not to get up off his stool after the eighth.
McDonnell said: “It was a good test. He was strong. I felt his power. It was a good learning fight.”