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Exclusive: Sanigar says McDonnell v Haskins unification ‘makes sense to build up’

Phil Jay 30/01/2016

Lucas Noonan / Hogan

Lee Haskins’ manager Jamie Sanigar has informed WBN that a huge UK two-belt world bantamweight battle with Jamie McDonnell won’t be happening just yet.

Sanigar is already working on a first defence for the new IBF champion, whilst WBA title holder McDonnell is hunting an opponent for a defence on the Anthony Joshua undercard on April 9 in London.

Asked whether there had been any contact from Eddie Hearn regarding the possible unification in the spring, Sanigar revealed a potential fight was not in discussion and believes McDonnell v Haskins should be left to simmer for the immediate future.

“We’ve had no contact from Eddie about Lee fighting McDonnell on April 9th,” Sanigar exclusively told World Boxing News.

“Of course, it’s a fight we have chased for many years but it’s always fallen on deaf years. But things are different now as Lee is IBF world champion with lots of options to consider.

“As of now, we are finalising Lee’s first voluntary IBF defense, but I think it’s more realistic that a big domestic world title clash with McDonnell should be left until the summer, potentially outdoors in a stadium in Bristol or Doncaster.”

McDonnell was recently informed by the WBA that a mandatory clash with Juan Carlos Payano must be negotiated by the end of February leaving the 29 year-old likely to be tied up in the summer. That leaves the contest out of reach until at least the end of the year, although Sanigar isn’t too disappointed.

“I don’t know what Jamie McDonnell’s plans are, but I think it makes sense to build up a fight with Lee,” he added.

An alternative domestic clash is one option for Haskins in mid-2016 as former champion Stuart Hall is currently ranked number four by the IBF and is on the verge of sealing an eliminator.

Others high in the rankings and possibilities include Adam Lopez of the United States, Frenchman Karim Guerfi and former opponent Ryosuke Iwasa for Haskins in the meantime.