On April 9, two big fights on opposite sides of the pond share top billing on the world boxing stage. First up is the IBF World heavyweight title fight between Charles Martin and challenger Anthony Joshua at London’s O2 Arena. The nightcap is the rubber match between Manny Pacquiao and Tim Bradley at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.
Both fights are girded with attractive undercards. The undercard on the show in London – an Eddie Hearn promotion – just got stronger with the news that Jamie McDonnell has been added to the show. McDonnell (27-2-1, 12) will be making the fourth defense of his WBA World bantamweight title against Juan Alberto Rosas (41-9, 28) of Mexico.
McDonnell, whose identical twin brother Gavin McDonnell is a fast-rising super bantamweight, has won 19 straight since losing an 8-round decision to talented Lee Haskins. The long winning streak has elevated the 30-year-old McDonnell to a #4 ranking in the 118-pound class according to the authoritative Transnational Boxing Rankings Board.
Hailing from Doncaster, McDonnell welcomes the opportunity to fight in his native land after having had his last two engagements in Texas. In his last outing, in Corpus Christi, he duplicated his previous effort by winning a 12-round decision in a rematch with Tomoki Kamada. McDonnell was in hostile territory. Kamada, nicknamed “El Mexicanito,” is Japanese, but has spent the bulk of his pro career living and training in Mexico.
Juan Alberto Rosas, a former IBF super flyweight champion, is a 15-year veteran, having turned pro at the age of 16. He has been stopped only once in 50 fights.
At 5’10,” McDonnell, a plasterer by trade, is tall for a bantamweight. He doesn’t have much power, but is technically sound. There are big fights in his future, assuming he gets by Rosas. A rematch with Lee Haskins is a possibility and he will be pressured to meet Juan Carlos Payano, the undefeated (17-0) fighter from the Dominican Republic who holds the “Super” version of the WBA bantamweight title. Further down the road are potential matches with Carl Frampton and Scott Quigg.
The McDonnell-Rosas match garnishes what was already a solid undercard. Lee Selby defends his IBF World featherweight title against Philadelphia’s Eric Hunter in the main supporting bout. The all-England affair between super welterweights Mathew Macklin and Brian Rose has the earmarks of a lively skirmish. Rose is currently a slight favorite. A tune-up fight for standout super middleweight George Groves, one of England’s most popular fighters, is icing on the cake. There are eight fights in all, including the pro debut of 19-year-old Conor Benn, the son of former two weight division world champion Nigel Benn.