DONCASTER’S Jamie McDonell made a successful first defence of his Commonwealth bantamweight title at the Hillsborough Leisure Centre on Saturday night.
McDonnell, who beat London-based Ian Napa to take the title midway through last season, collected a unanimous points decision against durable Kenyan Nick Otieno over 12 rounds.
It was the 25 year-old’s 17th win in 20 fights, and kept him on course for a possible world title shot next season.
McDonnell’s next fight is likely to be a voluntary defence of both his Commonwealth and European titles against Darlington’s Stuey Hall, the British champion.
Hall was at the Sheffield venue to run the rule over McDonnell, who relinquished the British title.
Although McDonnell was originally against fighting the lower ranked Hall - believing such a contest would do little to enhance his world title prospects - the fight is now likely to go ahead, probably at the Dome, in either September or October.
McDonnell wasn’t at his brilliant best against the 5ft 4in tall 38 year-old Kenyan, and was content to box off the back foot for long periods rather than trying to dominance the centre of the ring.
But joint-trainer Stefy Bull said the fight had gone to plan.
“It was just a safe performance,” he told The Star yesterday.
“Jamie, who would have been stripped of his European title had he lost, had a lot at stake and we didn’t want to take any risks.
“The game-plan was for Jamie to keep busy just hitting and moving, We wanted him to keep it simple and not to do anything silly and not get caught, and that’s what he did.
“Jamie’s got a great engine on him, and he showed that again, and we knew he’d go the distance, It was just a case of him keeping safe and picking up enough points along the way.
“If there hadn’t have been anything at stake we’d have given him different tactics.
“There are probably more fighters out there who will fancy their chances against Jamie after the fight, but we know what we are doing and we felt it was the right thing to do.”