Harry Pratt

Jamie McDonnell to fight Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat for WBA title

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Jamie McDonnell (L) fighting Darwin Zamora on Oct. 20, 2012. Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images.

Former bantamweight titleholder Jamie McDonnell will face Thailand’s Tabtimdaeng Na Rachawat for the vacant WBA title on May 31 at Wembley Stadium in London.

McDonnell (23-2-1, 10 knockouts) won the IBF belt 10 months ago by beating Julio Ceja but was then stripped of the title a couple of months later after failing to meet a set deadline for a mandatory defense agreement. That resulted in the British star, 28, splitting from promoter Dennis Hobson and joining Eddie Hearn and Matchroom.

Now McDonnell, THE RING”s No. 7 at 118 pounds, has the opportunity to return to the summit as he takes on Na Rachawat (52-2, 34 KOs) on the undercard of the Carl Froch-George Groves super middleweight rematch.

With an 80,000 sell-out crowd expected for Froch-Groves II, McDonnell is delighted to be involved in an historic night of British sport. But, while confident, the Doncaster man is aware he cannot underestimate his seemingly experienced opponent, who has never fought outside Thailand and therefore is something of an unknown quantity.

“I am so excited to be fighting for a world title on the biggest boxing show in British history,” said McDonnell. “I’m honored to be a part of it and especially to be fighting to become a world champion again. I am absolutely flying with this news.

“It’s been a full year since I last fought for a world title and it’s been tough to be honest. I had a little taste of being a world champion, I loved it and it made me want it even more. Reaching the top of the world changes your life and I want to feel that again.

“I don’t know much about Na Rachawat and I will leave that to the team. His record says he can bang a bit and he is a come-forward fighter who is game – so it will be an entertaining fight. That suits me. I’m expecting to win and win well.”

Harry Pratt is on Twitter: @gharrypratt

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