Dave Coldwell insists Jamie McDonnell can head into 2017 on a positive footing despite the controversy over his last victory.
The Doncaster fighter held onto his WBA bantamweight title in a points win over Liborio Solis in Monte Carlo in October.
But many observers felt Solis had done enough to wrest the title from McDonnell’s grasp.
Reflecting on a busy year, trainer and manager Coldwell says McDonnell has proven himself to be better than his last performance and can look forward to bigger and better things next year.
“Jamie was pushed hard last time and I’ve made it clear in several interviews that the fight could have gone either way against Solis.
“But there’s so much more to Jamie than that performance.
“We had a good win earlier in the year and add that to the Solis result and we can take that as a positive year and go again in 2017.
“Jamie wants huge fights and big opportunities and he’s prepared to work hard for them so hopefully next year can be a vital one for him.”
McDonnell is likely to remain at bantamweight for at least one more fight in 2017 before making a long-mooted move to super bantamweight.
The 30-year-old remains intent on unifying titles at the weight and a clash with WBA ‘super’ champion Rau’shee Warren remains a possibility.
McDonnell has previously expressed a desire to face WBC champion Shinsuke Yamanaka, the man considered to be the best in the division.
Heading towards a fight for a WBC green belt is McDonnell’s twin brother Gavin.
The WBC has given its blessing for McDonnell – rated number two in the organisation – to contest the vacant super bantamweight crown with leading contender Rey Vargas.
Details of the fight have yet to be thrashed out but Coldwell –who trains Gavin as well as Jamie – says his man is driven for glory.
Coldwell said: “Gavin is improving all the time and he’s took the traditional route to his title shot and worked really hard for it.
“He’s close to a big chance against the excellent Rey Vargas for the WBC title.
“The lineage on that belt at super bantamweight is really spectacular.
“Gavin’s name can join that list so imagine that as an incentive.”