Jamie must follow strict lifestyle code

Jamie McDonnell, Dennis Hobson and team celebrate the IBF victory
Jamie McDonnell, Dennis Hobson and team celebrate the IBF victory

CLINTON Woods knows more than most what sacrifices must be made to become a world champion.

Some of the good things in life - like the food and drink taken for granted by most young men - must be forfeited if you are to stay at the top of the game.

And, Woods suggests, that’s the lifestyle South Yorkshire’s only current world champion, Jamie McDonnell, must strictly observe if he is to stay at the summit.

On May 11, Doncaster’s McDonnell captured the IBF bantamweight title at the Keepmoat after a majority decision points win over previously unbeaten hot-prospect Julio Ceja, from Mexico.

Nobody was happier for him than Woods, who ruled the IBF brand at light heavyweight from 2005 to 2008.

But Woods thinks his 27-year-old friend needs to contain his joy of the good life - and his diet - as he gets older.

“Jamie was in tip-top shape for that fight at Doncaster and it was great to see him win a legitimate, big title, at a time when there are so many stupid ones knocking around” said the Sheffielder.

“We have always known he could liked a tear-up but now he’s proved now that he is a class boxer, too.

“He kept moving throughout the fight with the Mexican kid and thoroughly deserved the win” said Woods, who runs a successful amateur ‘boxercise’ gym in Westfield.

“Jamie is very tall for a bantamweight (8 st 6oz) and it is always a challenge for boxers making the weight when you are built like that.

“And, to be honest, Jamie likes to party - he can drink pints for England!

“As a character he is a real laugh - I remember a day out we had at Wembley when Jamie really shifted a fair few beers.

“Don’t get me wrong. He’s not like Ricky Hatton, who used to blow up so much in weight between fights.

“But Jamie will be up against world class fighters every time now and I know he’ll recognise some of his earlier habits have to be well and truly put to one side.”

While McDonnell beat a Mexican to land the title, Woods knows that is one region of the world that is not short of warriors across the smaller weight divisions.

“Places like Mexico, Japan and the Phillipines really turn out top kids at the lighter weights.

“But if Dennis Hobson (promoter) can get his next opponent over here, rather than Jamie having to travel, he’ll stand a good chance of going even further.”

Last week, McDonnell tweeted that, after enjoying his holiday he was “back training tonight - looking forward to it. #shiftsumweight.”

Local fight fans would love to see McDonnell tested against 30-year-old Shinsuke Yamanaka, the WBC champion from Japan.