On Saturday, April 9, at the O2 Arena in London, England, WBA World bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell (27-2-1, 12 KOs), from Doncaster, Yorkshire, United Kingdom, defends his title against Francisco “El Bandido” Vargas (29-9-3, 20 KOs), from Tijuana, Mexico, on the undercard of the heavyweight title fight between Anthony Joshua and Charles Martin.
McDonnell’s original opponent was Juan Alberto Rosas, but he was forced to withdraw from the bout after suffering a cut while sparring during the weekend. Vargas agreed to step in at the last minute and may present more of a challenge than his countryman.
“It’s a massive chance for Vargas,” said McDonnell. “It means everything to him and he’s going to bring the fight to me, but I am focused, feeling sharp and looking to make a statement.”
McDonnell turned pro in 2005. After winning the vacant BBBofC English bantamweight title in 2007, the BBBofC British, Commonwealth (British Empire), and EBU (European) bantamweight titles in 2010, McDonnell TKO’d Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat in 2014 to win the vacant WBA World bantamweight title.
Since that victory at Wembley Stadium, McDonnell has successfully defended the title three times, most recently in September of last year against Tomoki Kameda in the second of their two fights.
Vargas turned pro in 2006 and has proven to be a rugged competitor. He has lost three of his last seven fights, but in his last fight, against Wilfredo Vasquez Jr., he defied the odds and won a unanimous decision at the end of eight rounds.
The prospect of facing an opponent for whom he did not train doesn’t faze McDonnell.
“It’s going to be different,” McDonnell told Sky Sports News HQ. “He is going to come to fight, it’s his world title fight and it means everything to him. I’ve been training for lots of styles so it doesn’t bother me. I’ve trained hard, I am sharp and I am focused. I want bigger fights and to get bigger fights I need to come through this. It’s time to show everyone what I am about.”
This article was penned by the author who is not related to the WBA and the statements, expressions or opinions referenced herein are that of the author alone and not the WBA.