Overcoming adversity it just part of the script for Jamie McDonnell.
The Doncaster fighter got up off the canvas to retain his WBA regular bantamweight title in the alien climate of Hidalgo, Texas on Saturday, beating Japanese sensation Tomoki Kameda by a narrow unanimous decision in an enthralling contest.
McDonnell walked onto a massive right hook in the third round that crumpled him to the canvas and had a major deficit to overcome heading into the second half of the fight.
But overcome it he did, producing an incredible workrate and great heart to see off an opponent tipped to dominate at the weight in years to come.
READ MORE I thought I’d lost it says McDonnell
Perhaps his most laudable victory to date came after a troubled journey heading into the bout.
Boxing politics denied him an opportunity to unify world titles with the WBO refusing to recognise him as a world champion. Kameda would be forced into relinquishing his WBO crown in order to fight McDonnell.
And then there was the absence of trainer Dave Hulley, whose deathly fear of flying saw him fail to make it onto the plane to Texas.
A Texas tornado hit the 29-year-old’s final training camp while moving a broken down bus disrupted the switch of his group from San Antonio to Hidalgo, where the fight was held at the State Farm Centre.
So he could have been forgiven for thinking the hard work was out of the way by the time be came face to face with the unbeaten Kameda, live on terrestrial television CBS in the US.
There was nothing easy about the 12 round war that would follow, which boasted a tremendous amount of work from both men.
Kameda’s lightning-quick speed was evident from the off but McDonnell started the brighter, staying at distance and showing strong defence.
McDonnell was much too eager to get involved in the second and was regularly tagged with the jab.
Kameda started the third round in cagey fashion, as if inviting McDonnell forward. But there was nothing cagey about the massive right hook he landed flush on McDonnell’s jaw midway which sent him down.
McDonnell made the count with ease and survived the inevitable onslaught before producing a brilliant fourth, forcing the issue and keeping his defences tight.
Kameda appeared to be on the rise however with two strong rounds to put him in command heading into the second half.
But like so many times in the past, McDonnell grew into the fight. He began to fight on the inside, nullifying Kameda’s speed while with his workrate seeing him claim round after round.
Kameda’s efforts were not concerted enough, coming in short bursts in each round and not enough to sway any his favour.
Due to the fight-of-two-halves nature, little could be known about which way it would go as the end neared.
McDonnell attempted to take any doubt away in the final round, pummeling away in the early stages and landed two and three punch combinations with ease. Kameda recovered and threw some big shots back himself.
All three judges would give McDonnell the bout by 114-113, to the disappointment of a partisan crowd.
While Kameda’s career has been split between Japan and Mexico, he is being built into a star in America, firmly placing him as the home fighter on Saturday.
So for McDonnell to gain the judges’ favour in such a close contest was a major achievement.
Doncaster’s greatest has done it again.