|Double champion McDonnell (left) with twin brother Gavin|
Jamie McDonnell retained his Commonwealth bantamweight title out-pointing Kenyon Nick Otieno over the championship distance in Sheffield on Saturday night.
Doncaster’s 25-year-old champion, making the first defence of the belt against the African, was made to work for his successes and took a few rounds to figure out the shorter challenger, who’s long arms, quick jab and bolo right hand were threats McDonnell eventually worked out, to win a comfortably unanimous decision with judges scores of 120-108 twice and 118-111.
McDonnell’s European belt was also at stake if he had lost, but it was a decent performance and a good solid twelve round workout to keep himself busy and the ring rust at bay, while he seeks the big fights ahead including a showdown with British champion Stuart Hall.
Otieno who had never been stopped in 27 fights, was game enough and had come to fight and take the title back to his Nairobi home. But McDonnell’s neat boxing behind his jab and good range of head shots and digging body work, eventually slowed down the lively Otieno and McDonnell was able to catch his challenger with more regularity, has he continued to come forward.
McDonnell knew he had a fight on his hands from the start and tasted some leather from Otieno in the opening rounds, next as the Kenyan produced some good combinations, but McDonnell began to find an answer to his awkward foe and by round five he was opening up with his own combinations and knocking Otieno’s head back.
McDonnell kept his boxing together well and never got dragged into a fight with Otieno, stuck to his game plan and finished the home straight of the fight impressively with rounds and breath to spare.
Undercard results to follow…
Nigel Wright beat Nicki Smedley on points over 10 Rounds to win the English light welterweight title. Judges final scores were 97-93, 97- 94, 99-92