Training hitch hits Jamie McDonnell’s preparations for Tomoki Kameda bout

Jamie McDonnell with trainer Dave Hulley
Jamie McDonnell with trainer Dave Hulley

Jamie McDonnell has called in manager Dave Coldwell after preparations for one of the biggest fights of his career suffered a late hitch.

McDonnell flew out to San Antonio, Texas on Wednesday to complete his training camp ahead of his bout with WBO bantamweight champion Tomoki Kameda on May 9.

But long time trainer Dave Hulley failed to board the plane due to a deathly fear of flying.

Coldwell – a trainer himself – yesterday travelled to Texas along with Hulley’s right hand man Jimmy Harrington to oversee the Hatfield fighter’s final preparations.

The Star understands that world title chasing Tony Bellew – who Coldwell trains – has also flown out as he was deep into the training camp for his next fight which is expected to take place in June.

Hulley told the Star that McDonnell understands the situation and is not fazed ahead of his clash with Kameda.

“I went to the airport and tried but I couldn’t do it,” Hulley said. “Jamie understands and he’s known about this all along.

“People who don’t have this fear won’t understand.

“Plenty of people don’t like flying but this is completely different.

“No one wants to be there more than me and I’ll probably have tears in my eyes when he fights. I’m absolutely gutted about it.

“Jamie is the only one that has put more work into his career than I have. I’ve spent most days with him over the last five years and I’ve lived with him to get ready for fights.

“People are saying a lot of things on the internet and Twitter but they don’t know what they’re talking about.”

Hulley says he has full confidence in McDonnell as he works towards his May 9 bout in Hidalgo, Texas, which will deliver the biggest payday of his career so far.

The 29-year-old flew out with wife Hollie and daughter Saskia plus European champion twin brother Gavin McDonnell and his partner and son.

The McDonnell brothers will also train alongside British fighters Ricky Burns and Kevin Mitchell in San Antonio.

Hulley said: “Jamie will be fine. I’m in contact with him all the time and he’s ready for this.

“He’s had a brilliant camp, he’s bang on with his weight and he’ll be fine.

“He’s not a kid, he doesn’t need his hand holding through this because he’s a man.

“Gavin and Jimmy are out there with him and they’ll all put the work in.”

This is the latest twist in McDonnell’s clash with Kameda, a fight which was originally set to deliver the unification of the WBO and WBA titles.

But the WBO refuse to recognised to recognise McDonnell as the WBA champion due to his being the ‘regular’ title rather than the ‘super’ one.

And the organisation threatened to strip Kameda of the WBO title if he fought McDonnell.

Though the final details have yet to be announced, it is expected that the bout will have no titles on the line and will likely be fought at a catch weight.