The Golden Cobra graduate won the vacant green belt with a unanimous decision victory over local rival McDonagh in the Celtic Clash 7 headline fight dubbed ‘The Battle of Jobstown’ and will now look beyond Ireland at either super bantam or bantam.
However, after five rounds, at least on the Irish-Boxing.com scorecard, McDonald had seen a strong start eroded by some clever work from McDonagh and a point deduction threatened to unravel his title hopes.
Coach Eddie, a former clubmate and the oldest of the three boxing brothers, let his man know, in no uncertain terms what needed to be done, and McDonald was vastly improved in the second half as he claimed a win on the cards.
The former Irish super feather champ could be seen gesticulating wildly at ‘The Cobra’ jabbing his finger at the fighter, shouting and almost shoving him back into the ring.
“He was [angry] because I was asleep,” explained McDonald [5(0)-2(0)] immediately after the win.
“I just started slow, I couldn’t wake up, I don’t know. I couldn’t get into gear.”
“I dunno, I was letting him into the fight — I dunno what it was.”
“I went back to Eddie [Hyland] and looked him in the eye and said, ‘Don’t lie to me — are we still in the fight?’ – ‘Well, we have to get the finger out of our arse and fucking kill this cunt!’”
“That’s exactly what he said to me, Eddie doesn’t beat around the bush — Eddie’s straight in, no kissing.”
29-year-old McDonald had been extremely confident going into the fight and pin-points this as the reason for his early difficulties.
‘The Cobra’ outlined how “I wasn’t scared coming into the fight — I think that was the problem. I think I knew I could win the fight easy, and, I don’t know, I think I just fell asleep, mentally.”
“Luckily, I picked it up at the right time, and I did what had to be done — eventually, like.”
“I just tried to bring it to the street, make a straightener out of it. And that’s my world, like. That’s where I do my damage. And I just came out on top.”
Paying tribute to his extremely close-knit team – which also includes Paulie Hyland, the previous holder of the Irish super bantamweight belt – McDonald asked rhetorically “where can I go wrong?”
“We have the ‘A’ team. I’m with these lads since I’m 12 years of age”
“Like I said in my very first interview, loyalty is everything in this game. My team, we’re not a team — we’re a family. We always have been. The boys are like brothers to me.”
“It make life easier for me and it gives you that kick in the arse that you need when you have to fucking wake up and go to the trenches.”
“I didn’t think I had to go to the trenches! But I had to go to them fucking trenches to win that title tonight, like.”
It had been a respectful build-up with 33-year-old McDonagh – their Round Zero being more a discussion than a debate – and this honour remains following the gruelling and, at times, dirty contest.
McDonald stated firmly that “there’s still a lot of respect between me and Dylan, it takes two to tango in there.”
“It was a great fight not only from me — I wasn’t in there shadow-boxing! Dylan was hitting me back.
“He had a beard and it was cutting the bleedin’ face off me, the bastard. I can’t wait ’til I can grow a beard!”
“I’ve nothing but respect for Dylan and his team. He’s a great lad, he’s always been a great lad.”
“We’re from the same town. If one does well, we all do well, you know? I’ve supported him at his last couple of fights — I’ve been there, cheering him on, and I shook his hand when he got out of the ring.”
Photo Credit: Sharon Flanagan