English 118-pound contender Jamie McDonnell, recently stripped off his IBF bantamweight title, has hit back in the row with promoter Dennis Hobson – and blamed a lack of regular activity for his decision to quit the camp.
The Doncaster boxer was last week accused of breaking his contractual obligations by Dennis Hobson Promotions, who in the same statement suggested that using another promoter – reportedly Eddie Hearn of Matchroom Sports – had led to the IBF relieving him of the belt he won back in May.
Now 27-year-old McDonnell (21-2-1, 9 knockouts) has responded to that criticism, in the form of open letter released to the press on Tuesday, in which he explains why he had to leave Hobson and why he should still be the IBF champion.
“Further to recent press and social media comment I feel compelled to make this statement,” said McDonnell, THE RING’s No. 7-rated bantamweight. “On May 11 2013, I won the IBF bantamweight title against Julio Ceja. Winning a world title was a life changing moment and every boxer’s dream.
“I am a professional fighter and rely on my earnings from boxing to pay my mortgage and bills. Despite being fit, willing and able to fight at all times, under the management and promotional guidance of Dennis Hobson I have only had 3 fights in 2 years and I have only had one fight in the last 12 months, without even a warm-up contest to keep me active.
“I was very concerned about this and was in touch with Dennis Hobson, my then manager, for him to arrange fights for me. Finally on September 19 I had a meeting with him at which two offers were put to me, one involving me fighting on Box Nation and the other on Sky Sports. I made it clear to Dennis Hobson that I wanted to fight on Sky Sports.
“On Oct. 3, Queensberry Promotions made a press announcement stating that Dennis Hobson had done an exclusive deal for me to fight on Box Nation which was completely against my instructions. On October 4, I terminated my management agreement with Dennis Hobson and any alleged promotional agreements with him and/or Dennis Hobson Promotions Limited.
“I would like to make public the following:
“At no time had Dennis Hobson made me aware that I had a mandatory obligation to fight Vusi Malinga or that he had agreed terms for the fight on my behalf. I had no knowledge of what my terms were – i.e. where and when it would take place or even what my purse was to be or even that apparently there was a Bout Agreement in existence.
“The first time I was sent a Bout Agreement was when the IBF sent it to my solicitors on October 16 at 5.36pm (after their offices closed at 5pm) when I was given one hour to sign and return this agreement or else I would be stripped of my title. In actual fact the first time I saw this Bout Agreement was on the morning of October 17, by which time I was receiving calls from the press saying that I had been stripped of my title.
“The bout agreement states that I was to fight on November 9, 2013, which was only three weeks away, at Leeds Arena for a purse of $50,000 the equivalent of approx. £30,000, which is a totally derisory sum for a world title defense.
McDonnell’s attentions then turned towards the IBF as he launches an extraordinary personal plea to the organisation to reinstate him as its bantamweight holder.
“On Oct. 16 I was stripped of this title – a decision made by the IBF which I will be appealing against immediately,” the statement from McDonnell continued. “I firmly believe that a boxer wins a title in the ring and should only lose a title in the ring. I have dedicated by entire life to becoming a champion and winning your prestigious title was the greatest moment of my life.
“To have this taken away from me, particularly in these circumstances has left me shattered – I just don’t think it’s fair to take away my career and livelihood when I have been treated in such a way. I ask that you and the board of directors review your decision at your earliest convenience.”