Boxing: Jamie McDonnell’s red tape wrangle

Jamie McDonnell
Jamie McDonnell
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A potential world title unification bout between Jamie McDonnell and Paul Butler could be held up by boxing politics - despite both parties apparently being keen on making the fight.

Chester’s Butler became the IBF bantamweight champion earlier this month after narrowly out-pointing Stuart Hall in Newcastle.

And he quickly made clear his desire to face recently-crowned WBA king McDonnell - who was stripped of the IBF title last year - a sentiment shared by the Hatfield man.

However, McDonnell’s on-going dispute with estranged manager Dennis Hobson is threatening to scupper the chance of an all-British world title unification bout.

The 28-year-old made moves to end his agreement with Hobson last October.

Since walking away from Hobson, McDonnell’s career has been guided by Matchroom Boxing chief Eddie Hearn, with a three fight run culminating in his WBA title triumph at Wembley Stadium on the undercard of the rematch between Carl Froch and George Groves.

But in the eyes of the British Boxing Board of Control, Hobson is still McDonnell’s manager with the dispute yet to be resolved through a tribunal.

Keen to make the first all-British world title unification bout in six years, Butler’s promoter Frank Warren entered an offer to McDonnell - via his BBBoC-registered manager Hobson.

Meanwhile Hearn has also made public his offer to Butler of £200,000 to fight McDonnell.

Currently, the chances of the two parties coming together seems a way off.

Hobson issued a statement to clarify the position as he sees it and is apparently keen to be involved in making the fight happen.

“I have read in the press that Eddie Hearn says he has put in an offer for a Jamie McDonnell versus Paul Butler but the only offer that has been lodged in accordance with the BBBoC rules so far is an offer from Frank Warren,” Hobson said.

“If Matchroom are serious about putting on this fight, then they should contact me and follow the established protocol.

“I think it would be a sensational fight and another great advert for British boxing following on from Froch versus Groves and Hall against Butler in the last couple of weeks.

“It’s important that British boxing uses opportunities like this to build momentum for the sport.

“I’m happy to look at all offers and options to help make this fight happen, but at present the only official offer on the table is one from Frank Warren.”

Hearn insists anyone wishing to make the fight should be in touch with him and not Hobson.

He said: “Jamie McDonnell terminated his contract with Dennis Hobson some time ago. There is a dispute with the board.

“They don’t talk, they haven’t talked for months. It’s an on-going dispute.

“That is why Jamie has tweeted if anyone wants to make the fight, they should contact Eddie Hearn or speak to Jamie himself.

“I haven’t seen the offer Frank Warren has made, of course. Make the offer to us.

“I will make it plain and simple: I will offer Paul Butler £200,000 to fight Jamie McDonnell in a unification fight. I’m making that public.

“If they want to counter with a bigger offer than that, we’ll certainly consider it.

“I don’t care if the fight is on Sky Sports or BoxNation. If it’s the right fight and right opportunity for Jamie McDonnell, then we will take it.

“If you’re being serious and don’t want to play games, it’s £200,000 for Paul Butler. And if you want to make a better offer than that, perhaps we’ll accept the fight.

“I haven’t got time to muck about with silly games. I just want to make great fights and make the most money for my fighters in the biggest fights possible.”