THE training camp was less than ideal, the replacement supposedly dangerous and the fight itself an anti-climax.
But Jamie McDonnell’s still European champion and his dream of a world title is still alive and that’s all that matters to the Doncaster fighter. Ivan Pozo was just too small at bantamweight and couldn’t get up off the canvas after a second round burst from McDonnell.
The finish was destructive from the 25-year-old. Pozo hardly looked confident on his ring walk and after the much taller McDonnell dominated at range in the opening round, any heart he had left was broken.
It was up to McDonnell to put him out of his misery and he admitted to “feeling sorry” for the Spaniard. Nevertheless, his left hook landed perfectly under Pozo’s elbow and the look of anguish on his face said it all. He couldn’t beat the referee’s count after sinking to his knees.
“I know he came in at late notice but he was training for a fight anyway and I expected he’d give it his all for six rounds,” admitted McDonnell.
“My jab disheartened him in the first and I did plan on taking it steady because I didn’t want to wear myself out. I didn’t get out of first gear but I didn’t want to get careless.”
The fight actually finished before the battleplan could be implemented. McDonnell had planned to step up his work rate after the midway point but something else they worked on in the gym decided the outcome quicker.
Smiling in the dressing room afterwards, he said: “These kids don’t expect me to stand in there and fight, they expect me to stand up and box. I wanted to step it up in the second half of fight.
“I was due a knockout and it’s a great feeling. We pick our body shots, we don’t just blast them in and it felt sweet when it landed.”
Date, venue and opponent changes could’ve de-railed a lesser fighter but McDonnell acted professionally and finished the fight clinically. Now he’ll look towards facing Mexican opposition to bridge the gap between European and World level but promoter Frank Maloney confirmed that a world title fight could be on the horizon in “two or three fights.”
Liam Cameron reacted well to a late opponent change of his own. Beverley’s Harry Matthews filled in for Southampton’s Tony Hill and he provided a decent challenge.
Cameron’s looking strong at middleweight and he put Matthews on the backfoot from the outset. There was more flare from Cameron in the latter rounds and the uppercuts he threw rocked Matthews on his way to a 59-56 decision.
There was mild disappointment for Jamie’s identical twin brother Gavin, who could only record a draw the night before at the Doncaster Dome.
Up against the very game Ashley Lane from Northampton, McDonnell was forced into retreat by the aggressive Lane, who marched him down throughout the four rounder.
McDonnell fended off the onslaught well and landed counter shots with regularity but the referee appreciated both man’s efforts.