Jamie McDonnell on the hunt for respect against Naoya Inoue

More than money, more than plaudits, more than championships, Jamie McDonnell wants one thing from his clash with Naoya Inoue '“ respect.

Thursday, 24th May 2018, 6:30 pm
Jamie McDonnell addresses the media in Japan ahead of his clash with Naoya Inoue. Picture: Sumio Yamada

The WBA bantamweight king is often deemed overlooked and underrated after largely operating under the radar, despite his status as Britain’s longest reigning current world champion.

And he prepares for the toughest test of his career, going to Japan to face a pound-for-pound elite fighter, earning respect has become a major motivating factor for McDonnell.

“That has been a big thing for me,” he told The Star.

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“I’m not bothered about getting massive credit for what I’ve done or people singing my praises.

“What I really want is for people to look and think ‘this kid went anywhere and fought anyone.

“He believed he was the best so he never doubted himself.’

“There is no doubt in my mind that I can go all over the world, as long as I prepare right.

“I believe I’m the best bantamweight in the world.

“Why avoid someone, or run, or not make the fight?

“That’s what I want people to remember me for. Jamie McDonnell believed he was the best so he went and fought the best.

“That is what I really want.

“I want people to say I was a good world champion who wasn’t scared of anybody and fought the best to prove I was the best.”

Victory over unbeaten Inoue in Tokyo on Friday would be arguably one of the greatest achievements by a British boxer fighting abroad.

Inoue is ranked seventh in the pound-for-pound ratings and is on a quest for a world title at a third weight in only his 16th fight, having claimed championships at light flyweight and super flyweight.

The 25-year-old weighed in at the bantamweight limit on Thursday, with McDonnell coming in half a pound lighter despite his five inch height advantage.