Boxing - IBF upholds decision to strip McDonnell of bantamweight title

An appeal lodged by promoter Eddie Hearn to overturn the IBF's decision to strip Jamie McDonnell of the bantamweight world title has been unsuccessful.

Boxing - IBF upholds decision to strip McDonnell of bantamweight title

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Jamie McDonnell

South African Vusi Malinga (24-4-1) and Darlington's Stuart Hall (15-2), looked after by McDonnell’s former manager Dennis Hobson, are now expected to contest the vacant belt.

McDonnell was stripped by the IBF last week after failing to return contracts for a mandatory defence by a set deadline. This news came two weeks after McDonnell announced a split with Hobson, the promoter responsible for securing him home advantage when he captured the title against Julio Ceja at the Keepmoat Stadium in May.

IBF president Daryl Peoples told the Star and Doncaster Free Press: “We have upheld the decision based on the ruling made on October 15."

In an earlier statement, Peoples said: “Our rules state that when a vacant title is won, a mandatory defence is required within a six month period. Jamie was therefore required to defend his title on or before November 11.

“We were informed by Dennis Hobson, the last known representative of Jamie to us, that an agreement had been made to defend against Vusi Malinga on November 9, somewhere in the UK.

“We were then informed that Jamie, as it was worded, had determined his managerial contract with Dennis Hobson and that a promotional agreement between the two had never existed.

“And we were then told by the British Boxing Board of Control that the managerial agreement remained in place.

“We were told that Jamie McDonnell had not seen the contract for the fight by the date it was due to be returned to us.

“We informed him that there were repercussions for not signing the contract for the fight and also that it did not matter who the promoter for the fight was. It did not have to be Dennis Hobson.

“We did not receive the contract by the given deadline and therefore, according to IBF rules, specifically Rule 2A, Jamie was forced to vacate the title.

“We were then informed that Eddie Hearn was to immediately appeal the decision and we are currently working towards a resolution.”

Hours before the decision to reject the appeal broke, McDonnell issued an emotive statement, putting forward his side of the story, which reads:

“I am a professional fighter and rely on my earnings from boxing to pay my mortgage and bills.

“Despite being fit, willing and able to fight at all times, under the management and promotional guidance of Dennis Hobson I have only had three fights in two years and I have only had one fight in the last 12 months, without even a warm up contest to keep me active.

“I was very concerned about this and was in touch with Dennis Hobson, my then manager, for him to arrange fights for me.

“Finally, on September 19 I had a meeting with him at which two offers were put to me, one involving me fighting on BoxNation and the other on Sky Sports.

“I made it clear to Dennis Hobson that I wanted to fight on Sky Sports.

“On October 3, Queensberry Promotions made a press announcement stating that Dennis Hobson had done an exclusive deal for me to fight on BoxNation which was completely against my instructions.

“On October 4, I terminated my management agreement with Dennis Hobson and any alleged promotion agreements with him and/or Dennis Hobson Promotions Limited.

“I would like to make public the following:-

“At no time had Dennis Hobson made me aware that I had a mandatory obligation to fight Vusi Malinga or that he had agreed terms for the fight on my behalf.

“I had no knowledge of what my terms were i.e. where and when it would take place or even what my purse was to be or even apparently there was a bout agreement in existence.

“The first time I was sent a bout agreement was when the IBF sent it to my solicitors on October 16 at 5.36pm (after their offices closed at 5pm) when I was given one hour to sign and return this agreement or else I would be stripped of my title.

“In actual fact the first time I saw this bout agreement was on the morning of October 17 by which time I was receiving calls from the press sayingg I had been stripped of my title.

“The bout agreement states that I was to fight on November 9, 2013, which was only three weeks away, at Leeds Arena for a purse of US$50,000 the equivalent of approx £30,000 which is a totally derisory sum for a world title defence.

“As I have said, until this time I was completely unaware of the contents of this bout agreement and it is a fact that it has been sent to the IBF without my knowledge or consent.

“On October 16 I was stripped of this title – a decision made by the IBF which I will be appealing against immediately.

“I firmly believe that a boxer wins a title in the ring and should only lose a title in the ring.

“I have dedicated my entire life to becoming a champion and winning your presitigious title was the greatest moment of my life.

“To have this taken away from me, particularly in these circumstances has left me shattered.

“I just don’t think it’s fair to take away my career and livelihood when I have been treated in such a way.

“I ask that you and the board of directors review your decision at your earliest.”

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