Jamie McDonnell: Former manager relives the early years

A young Jamie McDonnell with former manager John Rushton
A young Jamie McDonnell with former manager John Rushton

Jamie McDonnell’s long suffering first manager John Rushton has sent a message of support for his former protégé on the eve of Saturday’s world title fight.

Rushton was Jamie’s trainer for the first three years as a professional and described it as one of the most frustrating periods of his career.

He said: “Jamie had all the talent in the world – I knew that right from the start.

“The trouble was he didn’t have the right attitude to go with it.

“He liked his nights out, ate the wrong food, and sometimes turned his mobile off and didn’t show for training.

“He even failed to turn up at one of our first meetings when we were supposed to go for his professional licence!”

But he added: “I always liked the lad and he has done everything I thought he would since he has grown up and his dedication to the sport has changed.”

Rushton walked away from boxing after 40 years as a fighter, manager, trainer and promoter after his son Jason suffered serious injuries in the ring nearly four years ago and will not be at the Keepmoat on Saturday.

He said: “I always thought Jamie had the ability to be a world champion. If you are speaking to him wish him all the best from me. He was a nightmare to train but I hope the kid does himself proud.”