McDonnell determined to get back on top of world

Jamie McDonnell and Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat. Picture: Lawrence Lustig
Jamie McDonnell and Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat. Picture: Lawrence Lustig

Jamie McDonnell wants to exit boxing at the top – but he knows he has to get back there quickly.

Tomorrow night, the Doncaster fighter will chase a second world title, doing so in an intense spotlight on the undercard of Carl Froch’s rematch with George Groves in front of 80,000 people at Wembley.

After being controversially stripped of the IBF title he won in Doncaster a year ago, McDonnell has his ticket back to the top of the world with his battle for the WBA crown against Thailand’s Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat.

Victory is part of the 28-year-old’s plan to make his fortune and get out of boxing in his early 30s.

“I’m targeting three or four more years in boxing before I get out but I’ve got plenty of goals left before then,” McDonnell said. “I don’t want to be hanging around in boxing any longer than I need to.

“I want to clean up at bantamweight and move up.

“Winning the IBF title last year took me to the top and I want to not just get back there, but stay there as well.

“This is my chance to really provide for my family.

“I get married two weeks after the fight and we’ve got a baby girl due later this year.

“My focus in on providing a great life for my wife and daughter. I don’t want to be slugging about plastering for the rest of my life.”

Another huge factor driving McDonnell’s desire to become world champion for a second time is the injustice he feels having been stripped of the IBF crown.

The governing body ruled McDonnell did not sign a contract for a mandatory defence by the given deadline.

This ruling came in the midst of a bitter split with his long-time manager, Sheffield-based Dennis Hobson.

McDonnell said: “Apparently I never signed a contract but I never saw one until after the deadline.

“It’s been a difficult year since I won the IBF belt.

“I had it all in front of me, big money offers, big fights and it was snatched away unjustly in my opinion.

“I got to the pinnacle, right to the top of the world and I’m desperate to get back there.

“It feels like a long year since I won the IBF title and it’s been building towards this.

“There’s been a lot of tough times since I won the title, a lot of things out of my control that have held me back.

“But I’m really excited now this fight is here and I can’t wait to get in there and take care of business.”

McDonnell met opponent Na Rachawat for the first time at Wednesday’s press conference.

The 31-year-old Thai fighter has stopped 34 opponents in 52 wins from 54 fights but this will be his first bout outside his native land.

The duo will weigh in today at Wembley Arena.