Jamie McDonnell: From ‘no future’ to world champion

He may be on top of the world right now, but it was not so long ago that Jamie McDonnell felt he had no future in boxing.

Back to back defeats in 2007 and a stagnant period saw a once promising and lauded prospect slump into boxing no man’s land.

“There was no vision for me back then,” he told the Free Press.

“I couldn’t see myself doing anything.

“I always knew I had it in me but I’d never trained hard, never dug in and never put everything into a proper training camp.

“I’d never done anything right until I started training with Dave (Hulley) and Stefy (Bull) in 2009.”

After joining the Mexborough based duo, McDonnell was suddenly thrust into a British title fight with Ian Napa.

Victory sparked a rapid rise with the British, Commonwealth and European titles all snared in the space of two months.

But even during the heart of those couple of months, it was the money on offer rather than the prestige that attracted the Hatfield hero.

Comments about a lack of knowledge of boxing history raised a few eyebrows in the national press in the build up to McDonnell’s world title win.

But he makes no apologies for his relative ignorance to the sport’s past.

He said: “I didn’t know what a British title was. I don’t follow boxing at all.

“To be honest, when I won that I thought ‘hello, a nice bit of money here, particularly when I got the European title fight straight after.

“But as soon as I beat Jerome Arnould for the European title my attitude changed.

“He was the first kid with a really good record I’d faced and I dusted him away. I stuck to a game plan and it was easy.

“That’s when I knew I wanted to be a world champion and that I was capable of doing it.

“I knew I wanted to knuckle down and make something of myself.”

Despite his infectious confidence, McDonnell admits he cannot quite believe he has become a world champion.

He said: “It hasn’t sunk in yet. I’m world champion. I just can’t believe it.

“It still hasn’t sunk in that I won all those other belts so I don’t think this will ever sink in.”