<
>

Jamie McDonnell to fight Juan Alberto Rosas

It's been difficult to find an opponent to challenge bantamweight titleholder Jamie McDonnell but former junior bantamweight titleholder Juan Alberto Rosas has agreed to the task.

McDonnell will defend his secondary 118-pound title against Rosas on April 9 at the O2 Arena in London, Matchroom Boxing promoter Eddie Hearn announced on Friday.

The bout will be part of the card headlined by heavyweight world titleholder Charles Martin making his first defense against British star Anthony Joshua.

McDonnell has been in training camp for two months getting ready for a fight for which he did not know the opponent until Rosas agreed to face him. Hearn told ESPN.com that former European champion Karim Guerfi accepted the fight but pulled out. Former interim junior bantamweight titlist David Sanchez was also offered the fight but they could not reach agreement on his purse.

England's McDonnell (27-2-1, 12 KOs), who turned 30 on Wednesday, will be returning to fight at home after winning two exciting fights against Japan's Tomoki Kameda in 2015 in Texas.

"I cannot tell you how good it feels to be back fighting in the U.K.," McDonnell said. "It has been a long time coming. Training has been perfect. I am feeling a million dollars and I am looking forward to putting on a great performance and showing everyone what I am about.

"I have had a full camp. I have been in the gym for 20 weeks and I have known for the last eight weeks that I would be on this show, so we have been training towards April 9 for a while."

Rosas (41-9, 28 KOs), 31, of Mexico, briefly held a junior bantamweight world title in 2010 and has faced several quality opponents, including beating former junior bantamweight titlist Zolani Tete and Alejandro Gonzalez. He fought twice in 2015, getting knocked out in the second round challenging Sanchez for an interim belt and outpointing journeyman Jonathan Lecona Ramos in October.

"Rosas has won (a world title) before," McDonnell said. "He beat Tete in a world title eliminator and Gonzalez, who gave Carl Frampton a great (junior featherweight) world title fight, so he has mixed it with the best and is very experienced. He will bring a lot to the table. He is only 31 so he will still be hungry and he will want it. I hope we can put on a great fight and I am 100 percent confident that I can beat him."

McDonnell hopes a win will put him in position to face one of the titleholders in the division.

"If I win next Saturday there have been talks of the Juan Carlos Payano fight for the 'super' title. There is also the Lee Haskins fight out there," he said. "I wouldn't mind fighting Shinsuke Yamanaka as it is me or him who is the best in the division. So there are some big fights there at bantamweight, but I have to get next Saturday out of the way first. I don't like to jinx myself and all I am thinking about is April 9."