The Westmeath fighter returned to the ring for the first time in 14 months and since his sensational first round stoppage of Jake Ball on a Matchroom card with a victory over Christian Aguilar as far away as the Mexican border city of Tijuana.
As important as the fourth round stoppage victory was for the reigning Irish super middleweight champion, the fact he came in under the 160lbs limit for the away day was perhaps even more crucial.
The Mullingar southpaw, who has been a figure on the scene, if not a prominent one, since he turned over in 2009, believes life at a lower weight will open doors to big fights and when speaking to Irish-Boxing.com after the fight he highlighted his Irish middleweight title ambitions.
McDonagh, whose brother Paddy is the light heavyweight domestic titleholder, has had a stop-start career to date, but now has a clear plan of action ahead of what he hopes will be a busy 2018.
The Prizefighter runner-up points out he is now in line for the middleweight green belt and wants the winner of the March 3rd Last Man Standing competition or the victor of the eagerly anticipated Conrad Cummings v Luke Keeler April 21st clash.
“The fight was all about getting down to middleweight for me. I have been training hard and I was told that if I make the middleweight mark I could be put in as the next in line for the Irish title at middleweight,” McDonagh told Irish-Boxing.com.
“I weighed in at about 159.6 lbs, so that was a relief. I am now looking for another warm-up fight and then I want the winner of Keeler-Cummings or the winner of Last Man Standing for the Irish middleweight title.”
The Tijuana tussle was McDonagh’s first in 14 months and considering that late notice win over a year ago was achieved in less than a round, the Assassin Promotion fighter needs ring time.
He admits as much himself and claims he will benefit from returning in the heat.
“It was great getting back into the ring, and everyone was saying it must be great getting rid of the rust after 18 months out, but in truth I have only had 1 round at light heavyweight in the past 2 years.”
“We were past ring rust. I have been keeping fit for the last year but had to pull out 2 or 3 times with injuries,” he added before reflecting on the fight itself.
“In the ring, it was tough. The arena was very hot, and the opponent although wasn’t technically the best or hit that hard, he was constantly in front of me, making me work for every edge.”