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Jamie McDonnell will face Fernando Vargas

Fernando Vargas has replaced Juan Alberto Rosas as the opponent for WBA Bantamweight king Jamie McDonnell at The O2 on Saturday night, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

Vargas lands a golden opportunity on the bill following a huge win for the 27 year old Mexican over former World champion Wilfredo Vazquez Jr in Brooklyn in June, and provides the Doncaster man’s first action in the UK since his two brilliant wins over Tomoki Kameda in Texas last year.

McDonnell turned 30 last week and believes a great performance against Vargas can see him land a unification bout in the summer, as he looks to dominate at 118lbs before a potential move to Super-Bantamweight.

“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.

“I’ve been training for lots of styles so it doesn’t bother me. I’m just buzzing to be back in the UK and ready to put on a show.

“I was looking to move up after the first Kameda fight but I am making Bantamweight well so if the big fights keep coming at Bantamweight I will stay there, it just depends on what options there are out there for me.”

McDonnell’s clash with Vargas is part of a huge night of action in Greenwich, topped by Joshua’s World title clash with Martin. Lee Selby defends his IBF World Featherweight title against Eric Hunter, while there’s a key Middleweight battle between former World title challengers Matthew Macklin and Brian Rose, three-time World Super-Middleweight title challenger George Groves meets unbeaten Scotsman David Brophy, Ohara Davies faces Andy Keates for the vacant English Lightweight title and Nigel Benn’s son Conor makes his professional debut.

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WBA World Bantamweight king Jamie McDonnell will face ‘The Monster’ Juan Alberto Rosas at The O2 in London on April 9, live on Sky Sports Box Office.

IBF champion McDonnell boxes back in Britain for the first time since his pair of brilliant wins over Tomoki Kameda in Texas in 2015, and his first action in the UK since tackling Javier Chacon in Liverpool back in November 2014.

Rosas will present a tough examination for the Doncaster man though, with the Mexican former IBF Super-Flyweight champion holding wins over Zolani Tete and Alejandro Gonzalez.

McDonnell first met Kameda in May in Hidalgo, climbing off the canvas in the third round to defeat the former IBF champion and then repeated the dose in Corpus Christi four months later, this time flooring the Japanese star in the final round to put an exclamation point on the rematch.

McDonnell, who turned 30 on Wednesday, says he cannot wait to be back in action on UK soil following his US adventure but knows that Rosas can derail his plans to land a unification bout later in the year.

“I cannot tell you how good it feels to be back fighting in the UK,” said McDonnell. “It has been a long-time coming. Training has been perfect, I am feeling a million dollars and I am looking forward to putting on a great performance and showing everyone what I am about.

“I have had a full-camp, I have been in the gym for 20 weeks and I have known for the last eight weeks that I would be on this show, so we have been training towards April 9 for a while.

“Rosas has won World titles before, he beat Tete in a World title eliminator who is a top fighter and Gonzalez, who gave Carl Frampton a great World title fight, so he has mixed it with the best and is very experienced.

“He will bring a lot to the table. He is only 31 so he will still be hungry and he will want it. I hope we can put on a great fight and I am 100 per cent confident that I can beat him.

“I am really looking forward to it. I watched Froch vs. Kessler at The O2 and I cannot wait to box there myself. It’s a huge night and I am ready to show everyone what I am about and I cannot wait for it.

“If I win next Saturday there have been talks of the Juan Carlos Payano fight for the Super title, there is also the Lee Haskins fight out there, I wouldn’t mind fighting Shinsuke Yamanaka as it is me or him who is the best in the division and that would be for the green belt, so there are some big fights there at Bantamweight, but I have to get next Saturday out of the way fights. I don’t like to jinx myself and all I am thinking about is April 9.”

McDonnell’s clash with Rosas is part of a huge night of action in Greenwich, topped by Joshua’s World title clash with Martin. Lee Selby defends his IBF World Featherweight title against Eric Hunter, while there’s a key Middleweight battle between former World title challengers Matthew Macklin and Brian Rose, three-time World Super-Middleweight title challenger George Groves meets unbeaten Scotsman David Brophy, Ohara Davies faces Andy Keates for the vacant English Lightweight title and Nigel Benn’s son Conor makes his professional debut.


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