World champion Jamie McDonnell takes part in his fifth defence of his WBA World bantamweight title against Liborio Solis, from Venezuela, on November 12 in Monaco.
Fighting to retain his title in Monte Carlo sounds almost as glamorous as the big stages of Las Vegas or London.
Yet the 30-year-old gets little of the credit other world champions receive. He deserves more recognition for his WBA and previous IBF title-winning achievements, especially as he’s had to overcome four defeats. We asked a panel of experts reckon why he remains in the shadows.
KELL BROOK: I rate Jamie, I don’t think he gets the recognition though as people are not that excited about the lower weights. I just want him to get the best fights and to keep grabbing the money, Babi! We went all through the amateurs together, I’ve got all the time in the world for him and their kid (twin Gavin.)
AMER KHAN : Jamie is a very good fighter but there aren’t any real names as opposition.
You always need a rival: Benn-Eubank, Froch-Groves, Hagler-Hearns Brook-Khan. A bit more character in his division wouldn’t go amiss. We’ve never heard of his opponent so it’s difficult to be excited.
His twin Gavin’s breakthrough fight was against Leigh Wood two years ago, who in my opinion will also be a champion at British or world level. I said if he beats Leigh I’d expect him to excel to world level and so far my prediction has been correct, however he has to be quick because once Kid Galahad stamps his fist on the division I can’t see anyone beating him.
CLINTON WOODS: I think it’s a joke - Jamie should be one of the most talked-about fighters, he has got a great style to watch, he’s won major titles at home and abroad: he is boxer of the year, for me.
LIAM CAMERON: Jamie is a great fighter and I’m a fan of his, but he’s getting moved down the card -he should fight in his home town, maybe.
MUHEEB FAZELDIN: “Jamie has a great engine. There are lots of boxers at world level who are not been talked about. Guillermo Rigondeaux, in my eye, is Pound for Pound best, yet very underrated. It’s not about the weight group because Andre Ward (light heavy) is not talked about a lot. Maybe it’s the way they carry themselves. They need to be trash talking: they are too quiet.
SAM O’MAISON: Everyone has a chance it’s how much you want it and how much you are willing to sacrifice and put in. It’s takes a bigger man to get up after defeat than to continue winning.
TOMMY CHADBURN: He has been left out because it’s the bantamweight division. He is the top five pound for pound British fighter. He will also possibly rule at 122lb as well. Gavin may win a world title if he gets the right fight. He has come on so much since joining Dave Coldwell.
DAVE FIDLER: I don’t think coming from Doncaster helps his cause. Both twins are genuine, down to earth lads, what you see is what you get. No trash talk, no razzmatazz, maybe they need to do this to be universally recognised, though that goes against the grain. Jamie’s achieved more than he himself probably dreamed of; that’s through his unbelievable fitness and neat and tidy boxing. He keeps proving doubters wrong with unbelievable victories against Tomoki Kameda firmly cementing himself as word-class. Gavin can emulate his brother’s achievements.
ADAM ETCHES: Some boxers get attention they don’t deserve and a lot don’t get as much as they merit - Jamie is definitely in that last category. Sometimes you need a bit of luck to get noticed, whether it’s the right place, right time, right fight, right promoter - and your face has to fit, as well.
But when you see how many world title defences he’s made, it speaks for itself. He should be seen in the same light as Kell Brook, Clinton Woods and Junior Witter.
JON BUSTER KEETON: Jamie reminds me of Duke McKennzie. He was a genuine world champ in the ‘90s and all you heard about was Eubank and Benn. Brendan Ingle always said you need a nickname or an act so folk remember you. Then even casual fans say: ‘That’s him who flips over the ropes or wears a sombrero.’ Being a great boxer only gets you remembered by boxing fans; not the general public.
GLYN RHODES: Jamie’s proved he’s got guts by winning abroad and he deserves more credit. Maybe he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves because he’s not as flamboyant as some other champions but that’s not his style so maybe to the general public he’s not a household name but to anyone who knows boxing Jamie is a great fighter. Gavin has also turned out to be a good fighter and what an achievement for two brothers from Doncaster to be at this level. There are lots of fighters shouting their mouths off but that’s not the McDonnell style.
LEE CONNELLY: The first time I met Jamie was when Dennis Hobson set some sparring up so he could have a look at me, I’d had five amateur bouts, wasn’t fit, but when I saw Jamie and I thought I’d beat this skinny kid up! Then he schooled me and beat me up in three rounds. I watched him beat Julio Ceja to win his first world title and then impressed even more by beating Kameda twice. Having early losses and not showing the talent he now has sent him under the radar.
ATIF SHAFIQ: Jamie is one of the most underrated champions we have. It may be because he lacks a rival that he can build a grudge match with like Frampton and Quigg did.
PAUL SILKY JONES: Unfortunately Jamie McDonald has got a extremely rich field of reigning British world champions at higher weights to contend with but that’s not to say he doesn’t belong with them, because he does.
In fact he belongs right at the top and he’s a fighter that defends his championship against all odds in everyone’s but his own backyard.
I think his great success will motivate his brother to world honours, so please stand up Jamie McDonald and take a bow you two-times world boxing champion the stage is yours!