The Athy featherweight headlined his second successive card, topping the ‘Celtic Clash 3: Building Champions’ bill and claimed the first title of his pro career.
Lilywhite Lightning took a massive step up for the fight at the National Stadium, taking on Welsh champion Dai Davies for the BUI Celtic featherweight title.
A high quality fight, the Irish boxer won after eight closely contested rounds, proving to have too much quality for the experienced Merthyr Tydfil fighter.
A cagey opener, Donovan worked the body well, but Davies was having success with sneaky single shots. A strong final thirty from Donovan where he brought his trademark combinations into play probably swung the round in his favour.
The fight was starting to warm up as it entered the second round. Davies had certainly come to win and landed his fair share, but the greater quality was coming from Donovan – especially with his incisive right jab.
The pair stood and traded straight shots in the third round. Davies’s straight right looked dangerous, and would knock the head back of Donovan when it connected. A cut opened to the side of Donovan’s right eye and, like a red flag to a bull, Davies began to target the nick, bloodying the lilywhite’s face. Donovan responded well though, upping the aggression and landing combinations to body and head.
Donovan had Davies hurt at both the start and the end of the fourth, backing the Valleys fighter into the corners and having the veteran look momentarily in trouble.
The fight settled somewhat in the fifth. Donovan was picking his shots well initially before Davies came back strong. A beautiful volley of shots from the home fighter halted this resurgence momentarily, but Davies still a very live opponent as ‘Lilywhite Lightning’ entered the sixth for the first time in his career.
While it was uncharted territory, stanza number six was one of Donovan’s best, with the 32 year old landing more and taking less than earlier. Donovan’s straight left pierced the guard well and the lead right hook was answering most of the Welshman’s forays.
Donovan was starting to take a stranglehold of the fight in the seventh, pot-shotting well and generally staying out of trouble as 34 year old Davies became more aggressive.
Delighting the fans, the pair went to war in the eighth and final round, with Donovan continuing to land lovely bodyshots until the bell.
Going to the card, referee Emile Tiedt scored the bout 80-72 in favour of Donovan, which was maybe harsh on Davies who probably deserved one of the early rounds.
The win sees Donovan move to 5(3)-0 and gain Irish title eligibility. Davies drops to 14(2)-26(12)-2, however remains Welsh champion and will continue to fight in high-level domestic bouts in Britain.