23rd January 2012
Jamie McDonald tonight became the British and Commonwealth bantamweight champion, controversially beating favourite Ian Nappa on a split decision with scores of 115 – 114 McDonald 115 – 114 Napa 117 – 112 McDonald.
Napa was lined up to fight again for the European belt he lost to Malik Bouziane, defeat here as put paid to that chance, but has opened a slot for the new champion McDonald.
Napa the smallest professional in Britain, but one of our most skillful and defensively acute pugilists, was masterful at times in slipping the much taller McDonald punches.
McDonald suffered a cut above the left eye in the first round following a clash of heads, but his corner did good work to keep it under control for the Doncaster fighter.
McDonald always in front of Napa and trying to figure out his style was hurt to the body early in the fight, although McDonalds punches were landing, Napa was doing that bit more work and was leading the fight by the midway point commanding the centre of the ring.
Napa was connecting with the straight right and his speed was giving McDonald problems he was finding difficult to work out. McDonald had a good sixth round, but Napa seemed to be having the final say in most exchanges.
The super fit McDonald took the fight to Napa in the final rounds and his walk forward style clearly impressed the judges despite Napa seeming to boss many of the exchanges.
McDonald took the 11th and 12th. but at the final bell, most people at ringside including the Sky commentary team had Napa in-front.
Napa was disappointed, and thought that he deserved to win the fight, “No disrespect to Jamie, I thought I won the fight but that’s judges for you,” said Napa. “There’s nothing I can do to change the result.
“I’ll have to watch the fight and see where I went wrong, but I’ll get back in the ring and keep doing what I’m doing.
“It’s nothing new to me I’m going to carry on with my career.”
McDonald a happy new champion spoke afterwards about maybe now taking Napa’s place as challenger for the European title, that Napa was lined up for before this banana skin of a fight.
“I’m over the moon and it’s all paid off, training hard over Christmas,” said McDonnell. “It opens all the doors and I’ll have a defence soon
“Ian had a European fight lined up and I wouldn’t mind that fight, but I’ll let Dennis (Hobson) sort all that out.
A stunned Ian Napa will surely be calling for an immediate rematch with McDonald before the new champion makes his move to the European stage just yet.
By Chris Maylett