JAMIE McDonnell insists he has taken a last minute switch of opponent in his stride and will stroll on to victory in his European title defence.
Following the withdrawal of Malik Bouziane last week, the Hatfield bantamweight will now face Spain’s former European flyweight champion Ivan Pozo in Sheffield on Saturday night.
And although powerful Pozo – who has not fought since last March – and technical Bouziane are very different fighters, McDonnell refuses to be fazed by the switch.
He said: “It’s disappointing a lot of what we’ve prepared has gone to waste but that’s boxing – I’ve had this before and I’ll probably have it again.
“In a strange way this could all work in my advantage because Pozo is a lot more like kids I’ve fought before, coming forward with power, whereas Bouziane was a lot more tricky.
“When someone hits hard you get a bit of the nerves because you know the fight can run away from you quickly.
“I had some of that fear when I fought Stuart Hall but you use that to stay focussed and concentrate on the fight, like I did on that night.
“We’ve been looking at what he likes to do, which shots he goes for and where the danger comes from so I’ll be ready.
“I’ve performed really well under pressure before and I’m confident I’ll get the job done.”
It is a strange quirk that brings Pozo to McDonnell.
The two were set to meet in January last year – again following a Bouziane withdrawal – but the Spanish fighter would also pull out, leaving McDonnell to face Stephane Jamoye.
Though sparring sessions had been gearing up to Bouziane, rounds with Wales’ up-and-coming super bantamweight Paul Ecomindes have provided McDonnell with a taste of what 32-year-old Pozo will bring.
Trainers Stefy Bull and Dave Hulley have quickly revised their plans but are confident in their man.
Bull said: “Jamie is in phenomenal shape for this fight and there’s no way he’s going to be fazed by this.
“He’s got different things to think about and he’ll definitely feel the nerves but he’s shown exactly what he’s capable of.
“Jamie has shown how professional he can be in the ring and he’ll need to do that again.
McDonnell knows victory on Saturday is a must if he is to earn a world title fight in the near future.
The 25-year-old was raised to second in the WBC rankings and is well aware of what is at stake.
He said: “There’s a lot of pressure on and although you don’t want to look past the next fight, it’s hard when you know what it could lead to.
“I could be made mandatory challenger for the world title if I win this and that’s massive.
“But when I get in the ring on Saturday I won’t be thinking about that – just about getting the job done.”