Jamie McDonnell says he will shake off the last of his ring rust in London on Saturday night, writes Liam Hoden.
The former undefeated IBF world bantamweight king will be back in action for the second time in three weeks when he meets Spanish fighter Abigail Medina at the ExCel Centre in the capital this weekend.
McDonnell was disappointed with his performance in the stoppage of Bernard Inom last month and is determined to see out a turbulent year in style.
“I felt really rusty against Inom, probably the most rusty I’ve ever been in a fight,” McDonnell told the Free Press.
“I strained my back a couple of weeks before but there was never any intention of pulling out because I really wanted the fight.
“It just didn’t feel right in there but I felt I grew into it as it went on.
“I always wanted to push for the stoppage and I’d have been really disappointed if I’d not got it.
“There were just two days that I had off after that and then I was straight back in the gym for this fight.
“I feel great now. I think I got a lot of the rust off against Inom and now it’s about getting the last bit off against this Spanish kid.”
The 27-year-old is now building towards what he hopes will be a 2014 to eclipse a turbulent past year which brought world title glory but then the hammerblow of having his title stripped and the bitter break-up with long term manager Dennis Hobson.
Next weekend, the IBF title that was previously his will be contested in Leeds by Stuart Hall and Vusi Malinga and McDonnell admits he will be watching with interest.
He said: “We’re still waiting to find out what the IBF will do with me when it comes to the title.
“Hopefully I’ll be the mandatory challenger and get the winner before next summer.
“But either way, I’m focused on being world champion again in 2014 and it’s still my goal to unify the division.”
First for McDonnell is Barcelona-based Medina, who has nine wins from his 13 fights to date.
The 25-year-old was scheduled to meet hot prospect Kal Yafai in Manchester last month but the fight was scrapped late on.
Medina was defeated in his first real test, coming against unbeaten Russian bantamweight Nikolay Potapov in May.