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British Scene: Jamie McDonnell vs Stephane Jamoye Preview

Dave Oakes previews Saturday night's Sky Sports main-event between Jamie McDonnell and Stephane Jamoye.

Jamie McDonnell kicks off Sky’s 2011 boxing coverage on Saturday night when he takes on Stephane Jamoye at the Doncaster Dome. The fight will be McDonnell’s second defence of the European bantamweight title he won so impressively last March, when he defeated Jerome Arnould in the Frenchman’s backyard.

The Frank Maloney promoted show hasn’t quite gone as planned, Benjamin Pitteloud, Malik Bouziane (personal problem) and Ivan Pozo (blood infection) all signed up and then pulled out, leaving McDonnell with the task of facing the relatively unknown and untested Jamoye. The show has also been hit by the cancellation of the bout between Carl Johanneson v Akaash Bhatia, although Johanneson will still fight on the undercard in an eight rounder against George Watson.

Despite being fourth choice as an opponent, Jamoye is a decent fighter and will be a sterner test than what Pitteloud and Pozo would have been. He’s an aggressive fighter who is more at ease on the front foot than boxing off the back foot, he tends to hook rather than jab his way into range and he has a solid chin. The negatives for him are that he can be left hook happy at times, his defence is poor and he has a bad habit of leaving his chin in the air when he steps back.

The Belgian has a respectable record - 19-1 (9 KO’s), his only defeat coming against Tomoki Kameda, the unbeaten Japanese prospect winning via split decision after a nip and tuck fight. Jamoye has had one fight since that defeat, stopping Giovanni Jaramillo in the eleventh round, his favoured left hook having a debilitating effect late in the fight.

McDonnell, 15-2-1 (7 KO’s), has been in great form of late. He’s on a run of seven victories, five of which were inside the distance, and has claimed the British, Commonwealth and European titles along the way. The Doncaster man is arguably the most improved British fight of the past twelve months. He’s improved his defence immeasurably, has begun to pick his punches better and is showing increased punch power.

I liked the way McDonnell went about business against Arnould, he produced a near punch perfect performance, methodically picking apart the Frenchman before stopping him in the tenth round. He then had an easy first defence against an overmatched Rodrigo Bracco, winning inside three one-sided rounds.

I feel Jamoye will show more resistance than what Bracco did, he looks like a tough fighter, one who’s willing to fight fire with fire. McDonnell should have a big advantage in size, technique and experience, and despite Jamoye’s brave efforts, I can’t see him pulling off an upset. McDonnell will be made to work hard but he should be able to secure a wide-ish points victory in front of his hometown fans.

e-mail Dave Oakes