JAMIE McDonnell is preparing for his world title eliminator alongside somebody who has already been a step further.
McDonnell, aged 26, has this week stepped up his sparring ahead of his October 20 IBF bantamweight world title eliminator with South African Vusi Malinga.
Leicester’s Rendall Munroe, a super-bantamweight, challenged for the world title almost two years ago but was beaten in Japan by Toshiaki Nishioka.
Munroe’s still operating at interim world title level and is preparing for a re-match with domestic rival Scott Quigg after their initial fight for the WBA Interim World title fight was ended with Munroe severely cut. Head coach at the Empress Ballroom gym in Mexborough, Dave Hulley believes the level of sparring is perfect and he has been surprised with how McDonnell has returned to fitness after a spell of inactivity.
He said: “We’ve only been training three weeks now but Jamie is looking great.
“He did six rounds with Rendall and looked sharp. He’s got his physical fitness back now and he just needs his boxing sharpness which will come. We all know that Jamie’s not the type of kid to come into the gym when he hasn’t got a date to prepare for but he’s in good shape.
“He’s got good a engine and good genetics and he’s flying up the hills in runs already.”
Munroe has similar characteristics to Malinga, whilst Hulley will look closer to home to get McDonnell’s ring awareness back. “Rendall’s a strong kid like Malinga and although he doesn’t throw shots from the angles Malinga does he’s the best we could have got in this country,” said Hulley.
“He’ll do some more sparring with Rendall and some positioning work with Robbie Barrett (unbeaten Darfield southpaw) from our gym but we’re very pleased with the start he’s made to the camp.”