Ireland’s JJ McDonagh is aiming to build on the biggest win of his career later this month with an outing in Mexico topped by featherweight Ben Jones.
The 31 year-old is making his debut in tough boxing territory, fighting a four-rounder in Aguascalientes fresh from a stunning first round knockout of Jake Ball at Wembley Arena in November.
An underdog going into the fight, McDonagh produced a majestic showing of power to drop Ball twice on his way to ending the previously undefeated Surrey man’s assault on the domestic rankings.
With four wins on the spin since suffering his third career loss to Canadian Schiller Hyppolite in 2014, McDonagh is finally hoping to land some of the bigger names in the super-middleweight or light-heavyweight divisions.
“I can honestly say defeating Jake Ball was like winning a world title. Nobody thought I could do it, but I knew it was possible if I struck early. It has to be my best win to date as it was on the big stage and against a top class opponent,” McDonagh exclusively told World Boxing News.
“I think it will have shocked a few people and it will mean many of the top names in the division will take me seriously. If I’m honest with myself, I’m a super middleweight fighter but I’m comfortable at either weight and with the title I’m happy to defend that but let’s see where the big fights are in 2017.”
Asked whether he’d consider a return with Ball in the coming months, McDonagh replied: “There is always the possibility of a rematch. I’m happy to do it all over again because I know it was no fluke, but in terms of whether it will actually happen, we will have to see how it fits in with my plans for 2017. If it’s the right option, then we can go again.”
Having three losses on his record doesn’t phase McDonagh after a defeat to Tommy Tolan early in his career, Eamonn O’Kane in a 2012 Prizefighter tournament, and the Hyppolite reverse, as the southpaw is only focusing on what’s to come.
“Unfortunately, it looks unlikely I could ever avenge those due to retirements. I believe I could overturn the losses but I guess we may never know. The main thing is I don’t plan to add any more losses on the way to a world title shot,” he said.
And on what’s next, McDonagh outlined plans for a Mexican jaunt this month before heading back home to knuckle down on the long-term goal of landing a lucrative title opportunity this year.
“I’m out again in January and looking forward to fighting in Mexico this time. I’m hoping for a good win out there as it will be great experience for me.
“Everything is now in place for me to get that world title shot. I think I’m ready for one now and I’ve proven I can do it on the big stage. I’m really hoping to get my chance in 2017,” added McDonagh.