‘The Donn’ admits he was left downbeat after a proposed bout with Chris Jenkinson was called off just hours before their scheduled fight at the Ulster Hall.
It was the Rio Olympian’s first real boxing exposure to how cruel the sport can be and was a ‘nightmare’ start to just his second calendar year as a pro.
However, Donnelly remains positive and plans to put his name on peoples’ lips again with an impressive performance when he appears on the May 17th #MTKFightNight at the Ulster Hall – and the double Commonwealth bronze medallist has a hit list.
“The fight being called off just a few hours was a kick in the teeth surely. I trained and sparred more rounds than usually do was in great condition. For it all to fall through and straight back into another camp it’s not easy. Nightmare,” he told Irish-Boxing.com before explaining the circumstances around the cancellation.
“I had weighed in same day and got told as I got off scales that Jenkinson pulled out as he felt dizzy in his hotel room and had to go to hospital. Then I was told Casey Blair is fighting instead. I didn’t have a clue who he was but I didn’t care anyway at that stage.”
“I got home and was getting dressed and I got a call from Jamie [Conlan] saying the Board didn’t approve as it was too short notice. I was gutted but what can you do? I was away to Tenerife the next day so it wasn’t as bad but, yeah, it wasn’t good!”
It was frustrating for the Ballymena light middleweight, but he is looking forward not back and is promising a ‘sharp’ performance on the undercard of Ryan Burnett’s return next month.
“I’m just frustrated after all the training I’ve done to go and do it all over again with nothing to show for it, but it is what it is and in four weeks I’ll get in and fight.
“Come May you will see a sharp strong performance as always. I haven’t boxed since Madison Square Garden last year.”
Donnelly has handed his management a list of opponents he would like to share the ring with, but isn’t overly picky with regard to who he fights.
The 30-year-old outlined how “I haven’t got opponent sent to me as of yet but maybe just use this fight to get back in there and I will be out again in June.”
“I have sent names of who I want and I’m sure I will get them too. I will just focus on performing and winning,” he adds before expressing his excitement at fighting on ESPN+.
“I’ll be live on ESPN and that’s something to perform well for and to get up for. It’s a great deal by MTK and can only benefit the likes of myself and others on the rise.”
While his May appearance looks set to be a learning fight, Donnelly does want to stand out and hopes to be fighting for titles before the year is out.
The fighter, who was willing to debut in an Irish title fight versus Pauly Upton, has big ambitions and is keen to fast-track.
Donnelly described how “for the rest of the year I’m just hoping to win in style and get back busy and hopefully a title fight on a big card over the summer.”
“I’ll take it one fight at a time and we take from there. It’s hard this game, I’ve no sponsors at all.”