Veteran Plant Works coach Ken Blood is tipping Jamie McDonnell to inspire a generation of young Doncaster boxers, writes Steve Hossack.
The last man to do exactly that, more than 50 years ago, was Doncaster’s legendary heavyweight Bruce Woodcock.
McDonnell surpassed Woodcocks’ feats at the Keepmoat Stadium earlier this month when outpointing unbeaten Mexican prospect Julio Ceja to win the IBF world bantamweight title.
“Bruce won the old Empire (now Commonwealth) title as well as the European crown and he was a boxing icon to people of my generation and beyond,” said Ken.
“It was Bruce who inspired me to get involved in boxing along with a lot of other people.
“I’m sure that Jamie will have the same affect on today’s generation. In fact, I’ve already seen that happen.
“The lads who came to the gym to train the week after his fight were spending half an hour talking about Jamie and how well he had done rather than warming up.
“I’m sure that other kids their age in Doncaster will also have been talking about the fight.
“That can only be good for the sport and I’m sure that all of the town’s boxing clubs will benefit from what Jamie has achieved.
“As I’ve told my 11-year-olds, Jamie started off at Hatfield at the same age as they are and went on to become a world champion, so it just shows what you can achieve if you have the talent and are prepared to work hard.
“I’m not saying that any of them will go on to be as good as Jamie, who has the advantage of being very tall for a bantamweight,” he added.
“But they will have the same opportunities as youngsters that Jamie had and will get to box in the same venues that he did at their age.”
As well as being an outstanding boxer, Ken believes McDonnell will prove to be an excellent role model.
“Jamie is a good lad. I was impressed with the respect that both boxers showed to each other in the build-up,” he said.
“It set a good example.”
Ken is hoping that McDonnell will find time to drop into the Hexthorpe-based club with his title belt upon his return from holiday.