JAMIE MCDONNELL is readying himself for a step into the unknown ahead of his Commonwealth title defence later this month.
The Hadfield bantamweight European and Commonwealth champion, aged 25, is set to face Kenyan Nick Otieno (W21, L6) at Hillsborough Leisure Centre on May 28.
The only thing usually guaranteed about African opponents is their unpredictability. McDonell will be researching his opponent as much as possible.
He said: “You never know what’s coming with them. As a rule they’re awkward, strong and gangly. Hopefully we’ll be able to get plenty of videos on him and get him studied properly.”
McDonnell cites the recent world title challenger Joseph Laryea as a perfect example of just what an African opponent can bring to a fight.
Scottish super-featherweight Paul Appleby was expected to beat Ghanaian Laryea and then fight fellow countrymen Ricky Burns for the world title.
Instead Laryea frustrated and outboxed Appleby and earned the title shot instead. Although McDonnell won’t look past this opponent, he plans on having a busy 2011.
He said: “I don’t like to be out of the ring too long and I’m kicking on with the training already and feel in good shape. I sparred with my brother (featherweight Gavin) last week and some of the other boys in the gym.
“We’re bringing in some new sparring this week and I’m feeling fit already. I’ve got to defend the Commonwealth first and then I’ll look to fight Stuart Hall (British champion) in September time.”