THE tale of Jamie McDonnell is a depressing one. Just five months after winning his IBF bantamweight title, he was stripped of it for failing to organise a mandatory defence against Vusi Malinga.
Sandwiched between the glory and the agony was promotional wranglings between Dennis Hobson - who guided McDonnell to the top - and Matchroom's Eddie Hearn, whom the fighter felt was better placed to provide him with the opportunities he believed were rightfully his.
Just hours before the IBF announced that McDonnell's appeal against their ruling had failed, the Doncaster man released the following statement:
FURTHER to recent press and social media comment I feel compelled to make this statement.
On May 11 2013, I won the IBF Bantamweight title against Julio Ceja, winning a World Title was a life changing moment and every boxers dream.
I am a professional fighter and rely on my earnings from boxing to pay my mortgage and bills.
Despite being fit, willing and able to fight at all times, under the management and promotional guidance of Dennis Hobson I have only had 3 fights in 2 years and I have only had one fight in the last 12 months, without even a warm up contest to keep me active.
I was very concerned about this and was in touch with Dennis Hobson, my then manager, for him to arrange fights for me. Finally on September 19 I had a meeting with him at which two offers were put to me, one involving me fighting on BoxNation and the other on SkySports. I made it clear to Dennis Hobson that I wanted to fight on SkySports.
On October 3 Queensberry Promotions made a press announcement stating that Dennis Hobson had done an exclusive deal for me to fight on BoxNation which was completely against my instructions.
(NOTE: Queensberry Promotions did not make an announcement that he signed with BoxNation and that it was issued with Dennis Hobson).
On October 4 I terminated my management agreement with Dennis Hobson and any alleged promotional agreements with him and/or Dennis Hobson Promotions Limited.
I would like to make public the following:-
At no time had Dennis Hobson made me aware that I had a mandatory obligation to fight Vusi Malinga or that he had agreed terms for the fight on my behalf. I had no knowledge of what my terms were i.e. where and when it would take place or even what my purse was to be or even that apparently there was a Bout Agreement in existence.
The first time I was sent a Bout Agreement was when the IBF sent it to my solicitors on October 16 at 5.36pm (after their offices closed at 5pm) when I was given one hour to sign and return this agreement or else I would be stripped of my title.
In actual fact the first time I saw this Bout Agreement was on the morning of October 17, by which time I was receiving calls from the press saying that I had been stripped of my title.
The bout agreement (a copy of which is attached) states that I was to fight on November 9, 2013, which was only three weeks away, at Leeds Arena for a purse of US$50,000 the equivalent of approx. £30,000 which is a totally derisory sum for a World Title defence.
As I have said, until this time I was completely unaware of the contents of this Bout Agreement and it is a fact that it had been sent to the IBF without my knowledge or consent.
On October 16 I was stripped of this title – a decision made by the IBF which I will be appealing against immediately.
I firmly believe that a boxer wins a title in the ring and should only lose a title in the ring. I have dedicated by entire life to becoming a Champion and winning your prestigious title was the greatest moment of my life. To have this taken away from me, particularly in these circumstances has left me shattered – I just don’t think it’s fair to take away my career and livelyhood when I have been treated in such a way.
I ask that you and the board of directors review your decision at your earliest convenience.