Success breeds success for Jamie McDonnell

Jamie McDonnell
Jamie McDonnell
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Even a world champion can feel the benefits of someone else’s success.

Jamie McDonnell says the triumphs of his gym mates has helped him in preparation for the defence of his WBA bantamweight title this weekend.

Twin brother Gavin McDonnell will fight for the European super bantamweight title early next year. And fellow Doncaster fighter Maxi Hughes is in a British super featherweight title eliminator in a fortnight.

It is fair to say that the atmosphere at the HHH Gym, in the shadow of HMP Lindholme in the extreme east of Doncaster, is buoyant.

“We all bounce off each other and we’re all flying at the minute,” McDonnell told the Star,

“Our kids come off winning the British title and now he’s got his big European title fight early next year. And Maxi’s in this big fight against Martin Joseph Ward who they’re talking about as a next big thing.

“We kick each other on and there’s that bit of competition between us, especially with me and our kid.”

Both his brother and Hughes have been involved in sparring as McDonnell has worked towards his first world title defence, against Javier Chacon this weekend.

European featherweight champion Josh Warrington of Leeds has been a regular sparring partner for the 28-year-old as well.

Much of McDonnell’s preparations had been done blind due to no footage being available of scheduled opponent Walberto Ramos, who was replaced by Chacon due to visa issues.

But former undefeated IBF champion McDonnell says no stone was left unturned to prepare him for anything in Liverpool on Saturday night.

He said: “It wasn’t ideal not knowing what style the opponent would be so at least we have some idea now Chacon has come in because there are clips of him.

“But we prepared for anything and we’re still prepared for anything.

“Every fight is about easing into it in the first round and seeing what the opponent is all about.

“I’ve sparred a lot with Maxi who is a strong and powerful counter-puncher who doesn’t come at you flat out.

“And then I’ve done plenty of rounds with Josh Warrington who comes right at you and is strong as well.

“We covered all bases and chucked other kids in there as well.

“It’s still about being smart in the first couple of rounds.

“Looking at Chacon, it seems like he can bang a bit more than his record suggests so it’ll be about doing what I do best.”

McDonnell’s ascent to world level has been built on a style of hitting and moving, though he has become embroiled in a few toe-to-toe wars along the way.

His stunning knockout of Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat at Wembley in May to win the WBA title was a perfect example of his style – side-stepping the Thai fighter and landing a flush shot to the jaw.

Such a finish would be a welcome bonus for McDonnell in a fight he needs to come through if he is going to secure a world title unification bout in Las Vegas next year against WBO king Tomoki Kameda.

He said: “It’d be nice to get a stoppage late on but all I need is the win.

“Kameda won his last fight so now it’s up to me to do the business so we can fight in Vegas next year.

“I genuinely believe I can beat anyone out there at bantamweight.

“I believe I will stop Kameda. I’m going to beat him and I’m going to stop him.

“I want to clear up at bantamweight and have a look at moving up.

“It all starts on Saturday night though with this defence. Fail at that and it’s all over.

“But I’m not going to fail, don’t worry about that.”