It may not be for the stakes he hoped but Jamie McDonnell is determined to show his next fight in Monte Carlo is no gamble.
McDonnell will defend his WBA bantamweight title against Liborio Solis at Salle des Etoiles on November 12.
The Hatfield fighter had been mandated to face WBA ‘super’ champion Rau’shee Warren in a unification bout before the end of the year.
But Warren stepped away from the fight, calling for it to be held early next year, and the WBA lined up Solis to challenge McDonnell.
And the 30-year-old admits he was left feeling disappointed by Warren’s withdrawal.
“He’s the kid that I’ve had in my mind for the last three or four months,” McDonnell told the Doncaster Free Press.
“The first six weeks or so of this camp, I was preparing to fight him.
“We had sparring over with him in mind. He’s a top kid, a three time Olympian so there’s no taking him lightly.
“I sparred a few southpaws and we were working on how to beat him.
“It’s not all gone out of the window because it was all good work but it was disappointing when he walked away from it.
“The fight will probably still happen, early on next year, and I’ll deal with him then.”
The disappointment that he is not fighting a fellow world champion is eased by the fact McDonnell is fighting at all.
His last outing – a stoppage win over Fernando Vargas – was six months ago.
For a fighter who thrives on having a date to work towards, the confirmation of his next fight night was certainly welcomed.
He said: “We’ve known for the last six weeks or so that I’d be fighting on November 12 but you’re never sure until it’s announced.
“It’s given me that bit of a boost for the last four weeks of the camp.
“I’ve been training for a good while now and learning throughout but you need something to focus on.
“It’s been a long wait for this fight. I want to be active and I’ve not been out as much as I’d have liked.
“But we’ll see this one out and move on to big things hopefully next year.”
Opponent Solis is a former IBF and WBA super flyweight champion and took reigning WBC bantamweight champion Shinsuke Yamanaka the distance in March, twice putting the Japanese ace down.
McDonnell said: “He’s no mug this kid and I’m going to have to be switched on for it.
“He put Yamanaka down twice with the back hand so he can bang a bit.
“People will expect me to win this but it’s not going to be the walkthrough that some of my other fights have been.
“And I’m happy with that.”