JAMIE McDonnell doubts it will ever sink in that he has become a world champion.
The Hatfield bantamweight produced arguably the performance of his career to beat Mexican KO king Julio Ceja at the Keepmoat on Saturday night and win the IBF world crown.
And he still cannot believe it has happened. I just can’t believe it,” McDonnell said.
“It still hasn’t sunk in that I won all the those other belts so I don’t think this will ever sink in.
“I can’t describe how much I wanted it and it was an unbelievable feeling not knowing if I was going to get it.
“As soon as that last bell rang it was a massive relief just because it was all over.
“Although I was sure I’d done it, the doubts crept in, especially with the majority decision.
“But it was crazy when my name was announced. It was all too much in the ring after the decision, I just couldn’t take it all in. I had a little cry in the changing rooms after. It was just a bit too much.”
Though the ultimate result was always in doubt, McDonnell produced a stunning performance to largely outbox the highly-rated Ceja.
The previously unbeaten Mexican - who stopped 22 of his 24 prior opponents - was always a danger with the power shots but McDonnell was simply too clever, particularly in a phenomenal last round.
McDonnell said: “Even coming out for that 12th when I knew I was winning, I was thinking ‘please knock him out’ because he had that much power I knew he could genuinely knock me out with one punch.
“But the 12th went really well for me, I put the combos together and I think I’d have stopped him if there were another couple of rounds.
“I got a bit carried away with the crowd going mad and I kept going at him even though I knew I probably shouldn’t have been.”
Though the crowd at the Keepmoat was somewhat disappointingly small, McDonnell was delighted with the support present.
But not so much with the temperature. As soon as the tops came off, I was freezing,” he said.
“It was amazing to fight at the Keepmoat. I walked out and I was buzzing. I looked around and I could see a mate there, a mate there, another one over there. It was incredible.”