THERE’S just a month to go until Tony Bellew faces off against his bitter rival Nathan Cleverly at the Echo Arena in Liverpool. However, on the undercard one fighter knows that one slip up could cost him dearly.
Jamie McDonnell defends his WBA ‘world’ bantamweight title against the little known Walberto Ramos in Liverpool and a win will set up a big unification fight with Tomoki Kameda, the WBO champion, should he come through his fight with Alejandro Hernandez next Saturday.
McDonnell said: “There’s a month to go, but I’m already fit and strong as I’ve been sparring 12 rounds with my brother Gavin, who fights this weekend in Hull [against Vusi Malinga].
“We’ll step up the training and bring in specific training partners, after the weekend, so I can leave no stone unturned. I don’t know much about Ramos, in fact we can’t even find any footage of him, but if I train hard, then I can’t see me losing that fight.”
The Doncaster bantamweight has had a whirlwind 12 months including getting the IBF title stripped from his grasp at the end of 2013, but he recovered to win the WBA title against Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat at Wembley Stadium in May.
But the Kameda fight is the big fight that McDonnell has been desperate to be a part of and, all being well, they are lined up to fight in next February or March, possibly in Las Vegas.
McDonnell stated: “The Kameda [fight] is all lined up and all the terms are more or less agreed. We’ve held talks with them, so if we both win our next fights, it’s on, which is a massive motivation for me.”
It would be nothing less than McDonnell deserves, having been a big victim of boxing politics. However, he feels this is where he should be at this stage of his career, despite the setbacks.
Jamie said: “I’m a year behind in my career and it’s been really frustrating at times. But it’s all worked out and I’ll keep chipping away until I beat Kameda, then the big pay-days will come my way.
“I’ve not got long at bantamweight before I move up, but I’m only going to go up for the big fights. I want to be an established name, so I can get the big pay-days, but I can’t secure those big fights because my name isn’t big enough yet and the other names have nothing to prove.
“I’ve grafted my way to the top, doing everything the hard way. I don’t get the recognition I feel I deserve, but I’m getting there. I’ll get this next one out of the way and then it’s the big unification fight, which is going to be the catalyst to taking my career to the next level.”