JAMIE McDonnell has vacated his European belt as he sets his sights on a world title.
The Doncaster bantamweight, aged 26, had the option of defending his European belt against Belgian Stephane Jamoye, an opponent who did cause McDonnell problems when they met in early 2011, but instead is set to fight a WBC title eliminator against Mexican Hugo Cazares, which leaves Jamoye free to fight for the belt against Bristol’s Lee Haskins.
McDonnell won the European crown two months after he beat Ian Napa for the British and Commonwealth titles. After that win in France against Jerome Arnould, he went on to defend it four times against Rodrigo Bracco, Jamoye, Stuart Hall and earlier this year against Ivan Pozo.
It’s undecided yet where the fight with Cazares will take place but McDonnell’s management and promotion team are keen for it to be staged in Doncaster.
Cazares, aged 34, is a former two-weight world champion and veteran of 15 world title fights. He’s fought for and won titles outside his own country, most notably in Japan before.
The winner of the eliminator will probably have to face Japanese star Shinsuke Yamanaka in Tokyo to get their hands on the sought-after WBC belt. The southpaw remains unbeaten after 18 fights and has had one successful defence so far against Armenian Vic Darchinyan.
Jamie’s trainer Stefy Bull has praised his fighter’s willingness to take on the challenge of Cazares rather than cover old ground against Jamoye.
“Jamie has proven himself a true fighter by wanting to fight Cazares because he’s such a good, tough fighter,” he said.
“He’s been around at the top level for such a long time and we can’t read anything into his six defeats because they were against top fighters.
“If it had been me then I’d have probably had another learning fight against Jamoye but Jamie wants to fight the best because he wants to be seen as the best in the division.
“It’s a big problem in boxing and I’m finding it out myself as a promoter that people want to be champions but they don’t want to fight the best to become them. It’s crazy and I can’t relate to it myself because although I knew I wasn’t the best I wanted to test myself against them.
“That’s why I fought Amir Khan and even though I was an old man I took the fight with Curtis Woodhouse. Jamie should be recognised as a true fighting man because he will take the hard fights and that’s refreshing to see.”
Fellow Hatfield fighter Charlie Thompson faces Sheffield’s Ryan Hardy at welterweight on Friday night at the Barnsley Metrodome.
Bull has also found a willing opponent for Harworth’s Joe Elfidh. In a clash of unbeaten fighters, Elfidh will travel to Bolton on June 22 to face Kieran Farrell for the Central Area lightweight title, a title Bull once held. Promoter Dave Coldwell is negotiating for the English title to be added to the winnings.