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Jamie McDonnell was moving on up before Naoya Inoue fight

Jamie McDonnell v Liborio Solis. Photo: Lawrence Lustig
Jamie McDonnell v Liborio Solis. Photo: Lawrence Lustig

Jamie McDonnell’s mind had been focused on a move up in weight before the clash with Naoya Inoue was presented to him.

McDonnell had looked set to switch to super bantamweight this year after reigning as WBA bantamweight champion since 2013.

But a chance to prove himself against a fighter ranked ninth in Ring Magazine’s pound-for-pound ratings - and away from home at that - was too good to turn down.

And he will head to Tokyo to face the unbeaten fighter on May 25.

“Dave Coldwell [trainer and manager] had been saying for a few months that moving up to super bantam would be the best thing for me,” McDonnell said. “And I’d come round to that.

“But then one day Dave walked in and said how about fighting Inoue.

“I admit I didn’t know anything about the kid. I’d never heard of him.

“But when Dave started telling me all about him, about him being one of the top pound-for-pound kids, I started getting excited about it.

“Dave fancied it as well so we’ve gone for it.

“This is a cracking fight and winning it will lead to some massive fights in the future.

“People will take notice of this and I’ll get some recognition.

“It opens up doors, either at bantamweight or by moving up.

“I’ve shown with the last few fights that I can still get down to the weight and I don’t think there’ll be any issues.

“I’m going to show it’s the right decision to take this by going over there and beating this kid.”