McDonagh will face Matchroom light heavyweight starlet Jake Ball [7(6)-0] on the bill at the Wembley Arena – which also features the professional debut of Katie Taylor against Poland’s Karina Kopinska, and a British title challenge from Belfast-based Scot Ronnie Clark.
Initially an eight round bout, the fight has now been bumped up the bill and will be over ten rounds for the WBA International trinket.
If one didn’t know better, it may have looked like the reigning Irish super middleweight champion was taking an extreme short-notice pay day, as Matchroom sought to take advantage of his attractive-looking record and status as a national champion.
However, this could not be further from the truth according to Kaz Evans of Assassin Boxing, who handles the career of the 30 year old.
Evans spoke to Irish-Boxing.com and reassured that his man is in fighting shape. The promoter explained how “I had him training for a potential fight on the 10th of December in Wales which would have been a good fight for him, but then they pulled the plug on that about four weeks ago. So I had JJ keep training and I had a look around for something, a fight that we believe we can win.”
“I was over in Monaco for the Ortiz fight and got chatting to Matchroom’s John Wish and, once we got back, they picked up the phone and said ‘would you be interested in this fight [Jake Ball]?’ So it was a couple of weeks notice.”
“JJ, to be fair, did a check weight at the start of this week and he was 12 stone 5 pounds. He is a super middleweight and he was there only five pounds off which shows the shape he’s in.”
Evans is confident that his man will surprise a few people with his performance on Saturday and stressed how “JJ is not a road fighter, I see this as a true fifty-fifty fight, and it’s now for the WBA International belt so there’s a World ranking on the line.”
“Jake Ball, is a good fighter and has power, but if you look at his record, JJ is a big step up for him. He’s never fought anyone as good as JJ.”
“JJ is a strong fighter, but he’s also a great boxer. You’ll see, it will be a close fight and it will go to the cards.”