Just days out from his WBA bantamweight title defence against Japanese star Naoya “The Monster” Inoue 15-0 (13), Yorkshire’s Jamie McDonnell 29-2-1 (13) believes his superior conditioning and mental toughness will see him victorious when the two meet at the Ota-City General Gymnasium in Tokyo, Japan this Friday night.
“Right now I am in unbelievable physical and mental shape like never before,” said the 32-year-old McDonnell to Sky Sports.
The fight will be the fifth time in the last six bouts that McDonnell has fought outside of Great Britain. It will also be the Doncaster man’s seventh defence of the WBA “regular” title.
The highly regarded Inoue, 25, won the WBC junior flyweight title in just his sixth pro bout with a sixth round TKO of Adrian Hernandez, 29-2-1 (20) at the time. Inoue made a single title defence, then skipped a division to take on veteran champion Omar Narvaez 43-1-2 (23) of Argentina for the WBO super flyweight title. He stopped him in two rounds.
“I have a good understanding that Naoya Inoue is a great boxer and a knockout artist, and he’s one of the best fighters in the world, pound-for-pound, but I can box with anyone,” said McDonnell.
“I am unbeaten for the last 10 years and I am a long-time world champion for four years.
“I do not think that Naoya Inoue has fought someone like me in his entire career. There is a difference in the boxing level between me and him.”
Inoue has bivouacked at 115-pound for the past three-and-a-half year, making seven successful title defences. Only Mexican David Carmona – who faces Khalid Yafai for the WBA super flyweight title this weekend – lasted the distance with the powerful Japanese.
“I came to Japan to prove that I am a strong world champion,” said McDonnell.
“I am very excited and motivated with this fight against Naoya Inoue. I am convinced that I am the best bantamweight in the world.”
Inoue has already be tipped to join the second season of the World Boxing Super Series, but first he will have to get past McDonnell.
And if McDonnell upsets the applecart, he could well replace the popular Japanese banger in the eight-man single elimination tournament due to begin in September.