Preparing for greatness '“ Jamie McDonnell leaves no stone unturned in search for success against Naoya Inoue
No stone left unturned.
The theme of Jamie McDonnell’s latest training camp has been quite simple.
Nothing left to chance. No corners cut.
Everything possible done to ensure he is in the shape of his life for the fight of his life.
Waiting for him in Tokyo on Friday will be a man known as The Monster – a monicker earned and justified with a ferocious knockout record.
Naoya Inoue is in the top ten pound for pound ratings after just 15 professional fights, with his relatively short career already boasting world titles at two weights.
McDonnell stands in the way of Inoue’s attempt to become a three weight world champion.
And he knows full well that he will need to be in the best possible condition both physically and mentally to prevent his Japanese rival wrestling away his WBA bantamweight title.
“Definitely, this is the toughest test I’ll have had,” McDonnell told the Free Press.
“This kid is world elite, one of the pound for pound best in the world, a proper banger.
“So we’ve done everything possible to get ready for it. We’ve not cut any corners. We’ve put everything into it.
“I’ve not been as switched on like this in the past. There’s been no temptation with food or anything like that.
“I’ve genuinely not had a camp as good as this.
“And all of that has made me even more confident that I’ll go in there and get the job done.
“I’ve believed all along that I’ll beat Inoue but now we’re here I believe it even more.”
A fighter who has struggled through training camps in the past has been put through the most taxing of his near 13-year career.
But it has all been done with science in mind, marshalled by Danny Wilson of Sheffield Hallam University.
Planning has been meticulous, execution has been precise. McDonnell has been monitored and measured throughout to ensure he remained on track.
And he insists he is feeling the benefit of attention to detail.
“It’s given me plenty of confidence that I’m on the right track,” McDonnell said.
“The weight has been bang on all the way through and I’ve been smashing targets.
“I’ve been doing weight training which I’ve never really done before because we’ve always had an eye on the weight.
“It’d been expected that I’d have moved up by now but the opportunities have come at bantamweight and I was never going to turn this one down.
“It’s never been easy making bantamweight and I wouldn’t pretend it’s been easy this time.
“But I think we’ve done it the right way and I’m feeling brilliant.”
Fighting at the other side of the world is always going to deliver challenges – and need even more precise planning.
None of McDonnell’s team had set foot in Japan prior to this week so had little idea of what to expect from a country with such a different culture.
Rather than leaving anything to chance ahead of an incredibly tough test, the decision was taken to spend the final two weeks of the training camp in Dubai – a half way house between home and Tokyo where trainer Dave Coldwell and strength and conditioning coach Wilson could continue to call upon western resources.
And training in the desert was hardly a bad experience for McDonnell.
“Being able to train in the warm weather has been great,” he said.
“We’ve done plenty of good work and it’s really finished the camp off well.
“It’s not been a holiday. I’ve not even been able to have a walk around at night because of the strength and conditioning guy won’t allow it. I’ll retain water which is obviously not good for the weight.
“But it’s let us keep a lot of control over what we do, which has been great.
“I’ve been able to work towards getting my body right with the time difference and we’ve been able to sort all the food ourselves.
“That’ll carry on in Japan because we’ve taken everything with us.
“It’s not been the most simple camp but Dave and Danny have done a cracking job to get me ready.”
Ultimately the preparations, however good, need to be backed up with even better in the ring.
And key for victory for McDonnell is nullifying the phenomenal power of Inoue.
The 25-year-old has blasted out early 13 of his 15 opponents to date and his gameplan for victory on Friday will be no different.
McDonnell is expecting a vicious early onslaught from Inoue but is confident of survival before taking control as the fight wears on. A five inch height advantage could prove vital and allow him to stay at distance.
And be believes staying mentally switched-on will be more vital than anything else.
“I’m strong enough mentally to ride out the first few rounds,” he said.
“He’s going to be a like a tornado, a strong tornado.
“But once I ride out them first few rounds then I do believe it’s my fight and my advantages will come into play.
“I’ll start pinging in that jab, I’ll get more confidence and come into my own.
“He’s never fought anyone like me before and he’s going to be in for a bigger shock than me.
“I just know I’ll be coming back with that title.”
Whatever happens on Friday, there will be no regrets about the road taken to Tokyo.
No stone was left unturned.