JAMIE McDonnell could be just one fight away from a world title shot after being bumped up to second in the world rankings.
The Hatfield bantamweight and his manager Dennis Hobson went on the charm offensive at the World Boxing Council’s annual convention in Las Vegas last week with the aim of staking his place as a contender for the world crown.
And after hobnobbing with boxing greats past and present – including Mike Tyson, George Foreman and Oscar De Le Hoya – the 25-year-old got his wish by being moved up from fifth to second in the WBC ratings.
He told the Free Press: “It was a fantastic trip, really productive and it was brilliant to come away with the new ranking.
“I’m up to second now so it looks like being one more fight and then a world title bout.
“This is what I’ve been working towards for most of this year and it’s getting closer.
“If I win my next fight I will be well on my way.”
The ranking puts McDonnell behind current WBC champion Shinsuke Yamanaka who captured the belt in November.
The Japanese 29-year-old is undefeated, with 15 wins and 11 knockouts from 17 bouts, and has never fought outside of his country.
To ensure a tussle with Yamanaka, McDonnell must first see off Malik Bouziane who will attempt to take his European title when the two meet at the Dome on February 18.
The Frenchman has not fought since April 2010 but is a former European champion and world title contender.
McDonnell said: “It’s going to be a tough fight even though he’s not fought for a long time.
“His last fight was for the IBF world title and he got a draw.
“But I’m confident I can do a job on him.
“You’ve got to believe that every time you get in the ring you’re going to do a job and I’m confident I’ll do that against Bouziane.”
McDonnell cancelled a holiday in Egypt this week to concentrate on training for the Bouziane bout and it will be another quiet Christmas.
He said: “It’ll be the third Christmas I’ve been in the gym but I can live with that.”
“I was talking to Roy Jones Jnr at the convention and he said I can do what I like in ten years time.
“I’m completely focussed on being at my very best for this fight because there’s a lot at stake.”