The Kildare featherweight took a massive step up to face Welsh champion Dai Davies, and came away with a dominant eight-round win and his first professional belt.
Donovan had mown through his first four pro foes, but was presented with a much tougher test atop the ‘Celtic Clash 3: Building Champions’ card.
It was a test he passed with flying colours and Donovan noted afterwards that he learnt plenty from the bout.
The 32 year old former amateur star said that “I’m really delighted. I felt like that was my first introduction to professional boxing. I’d had four fights, but that was different.”
“He was a different guy, you could tell that he had 240 rounds of professional boxing versus my twelve before this fight. He knew at different times how to block you, how to block your hands, small tricks and tactics that I was learning as I went along.”
“I was opening up and I thought I might have been able to take him out, but I felt ‘okay, you’ve never gone this far before and you’re exerting a lot of energy, breathe, let’s relax.’ I felt he was tiring so I thought if I could walk him down, land a good bodyshot, but I couldn’t get the good left hook because he’s clever.”
“Either way, it was a winning experience for me because I did eight rounds, proved myself, and I felt comfortable. When I went out for the eighth round I didn’t feel overly exhausted or anything.”
“You can spar all you want. It’s the fight where you learn and I felt like I learnt an awful lot in there against a really, really experienced opponent. A Welsh champion and a solid pro. He’s caused upsets.”
“I’m a high-tempo boxer, but I know now, from tonight, that there are periods where you can step it up, let go of your shots, and move away.”
Indeed, with the fight in the bag, Donovan upped the pace in the final round, looking to force a stoppage and end the show with a bang.
He noted that “I wanted to entertain. I didn’t want it to just be a shutout. I want to create memories, I want to entertain.”
“They call me ‘the boxing pundit’ but it’s hard for me to apply that to myself in the ring. I can give a great analytical view from the outside — but inside it’s different for me, I need coaches.”
The Athy man is reinvigorated following his return to boxing, something which seemed unlikely a short time ago.
Donovan outlined how “I was three years out of the game, I thought I’d never box again. Here I am with a new lease of life, a new passion, a new love, a new career and I’ve a belt.”
“I’m delighted for the community, my fans and my family, my girlfriend and my kids.
“My kids, Jack and Troy, are seeing their dad for the first time with a belt. They’re over the moon. I do it for them.”
With the first belt around his waist, and a first ‘real’ name on his record, Donovan wants to continue in this vein.
A realist in that he isn’t targeting world titles, the lilywhite on the other hand doesn’t want to drop down in competition and is open to taking risky fights that others at his stage of pro development would not.
Donovan reasoned that “I just want to test myself. I did a long time as an amateur, I did the WSB, I’m 32 – I don’t need years and years of learning. I want to [take a] chance, risk-reward. Give me the shot and what happens, happens.”
“It would be lovely to get an Irish title. That would be a good stepping stone. That would put me into the European rankings and I’d love to get a shot at a European title further down the line. That’d be class.”
“I don’t know where it’s going to go but it’s a journey and I’m really enjoying it.”
Kildare Boxing and Eric Donovan are proudly supported by Liffey Crane Hire
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)