KING OF THE WORLD: Jamie McDonnell crowned IBF champion

Jamie McDonnell
Jamie McDonnell

Jamie McDonnell stamped his name in the history books with authority as he secured the IBF world bantamweight title following a war with Julio Ceja.

Hatfield’s bantamweight king outboxed his hard-hitting and previously unbeaten Mexican opponent for much of the tough 12 round contest at the Keepmoat Stadium.

But he was also forced to dig deep as knockout specialist Ceja threatened to spoil the party under the stars in Doncaster with his heavy arsenal.

In the end it was McDonnell who took the prize on a majority decision, an outcome earned with arguably the best performance of his career.

German judge Holger Wiemann scored the bout level at 114 apiece but Mexican Alfredo Polanco (115-113) and Englishman Dave Parris (118-110) both scored in favour of McDonnell.

McDonnell had already made history when the first bell rang, becoming the first Doncaster boxer to fight for a globally recognised world title.

The 27-year-old would do so on a grandious stage at an unfortunately cold Keepmoat in front of an equally disappointing small crowd.

It was certainly a case of those that chose to stay away were the ones to miss out as those in attendance witnessed an enthralling and nailbiting encounter where the outcome was always in doubt.

After an even opener, Ceja went into the ascendency and seemed to have a bit too much in the power stakes for an initially rather hesistant McDonnell.

But after two rounds went in the Mexican’s favour, McDonnell began to battle back, truly figuring out Ceja’s approach and taking the lead by the end of the seventh.

McDonnell started to pick Ceja apart, reducing the Mexican to swinging shots that were easily telegraphed and followed up with stinging combinations.

But just when it appeared the fight was heading towards a comfortable conclusion for the home support, Ceja roared back with two strong rounds in the tenth and 11th.

McDonnell looked set for heartbreak in the penultimate round as Ceja buckled his legs with a huge right hook, seeming to put the highly-touted prospect on course for a 23rd KO in his 25th fight.

But McDonnell held on and produced a truly stunning final round performance, looking a one stage close to stopping Ceja.

Wildly differing verdicts flew around ringside at the conclusion, and the same could be said for the judges’ opinions, but there seemed little doubt in the McDonnell camp over what the decision would be.

And they were backed up when his arm was raised, crowning him the first ever world champion from a town in Doncaster with such a proud boxing heritage.

On the undercard, former McDonnell opponent Stuart Hall was far too classy for highly rated American bantamweight Sergio Perales and won the IBF intercontinental title on a unanimous points decision.

Towering Bentley heavyweight Carl Spencer earned a third stoppage in three fights as he punished Hungarian Ferenx Zsalek with hefty body shots over two rounds.

Woodlands’ former Senior ABA champion Jason Cunningham forced the flamboyant Usman Ahmed to retire after four rounds and secured the International Masters flyweight title.

Dronfield’s Lewis Taylor won the International Masters Bronze middleweight title by outpointing Doncaster’s Jason Ball 79-75.

Jamie Sampson was much too clever for Steel City rival Lee Connelly and ran out 59-56 winner while Goole’s Zak Collins bounced back from a first draw with a points win over Carl Allen in the final fight of the night.

For analysis and reaction to the big fight and undercard, see Monday’s Star.