Interview and article by Joe O’Neill
Paddy Donovan has promised Irish fight fans that they will have a new world champion to celebrate in just a few short years.
In a move that surprised some, the Limerick welterweight has turned pro, linking up with manager and trainer Andy Lee and joining promotional giant Top Rank.
Just 20 years of age and just a year out from the Tokyo Olympics, it’s an early switch for the talented southpaw but it is a move that makes a lot of sense for him and one which he is convinced will lead to world domination.
Donovan is adamant that he will become a world champion sooner rather than later and feels like he has the perfect team, perfect motivations, and the perfect set of skills to get him there.
In his first interview as a pro, the former World Junior silver medallist explained to Irish-Boxing.com how “it came at a good time for me. I’m young right now, I’ve only just turned 20, the pros are more my style, I can hit, I can box, and it will suit me in the long run I think.”
“Making the Olympics would have been great but it’s a long road there and there’s a lot of corruption in amateur boxing. Nowadays it would have been extremely hard to make the Olympics so I think now is a good time for me to go pro.”
Earlier this year, as his amateur career came to a close, Donovan suffered defeats to reigning champion Kieran Molloy in the Irish Elites and Russian home favourite and eventual gold medallist Vakhid Abbasov in the European Under-22 Championships.
Donovan disagreed with these verdicts but when asked if results like this were push factors in the move he takes a mature outlook.
“Not really, it’s not like it was the first time I lost a close fight,” he muses.
“I’m not going to try cut those boys down. Kieran is a great fighter and he’s going to make a brilliant pro too – so will the other guy, he’s a European champion today. We move on from those things and look forwards. I wish the boys the best of luck in the amateurs pursuing their dreams.”
Paddy Donovan is just phenomenal pic.twitter.com/5j4OOpYgNu
— Joe O’Neill (@J0E_90) November 18, 2018
The dream for Donovan now is pro domination and the O.L.O.L graduate admits that there will be some transitioning needed if he is to prosper with eight-ounce gloves on.
‘Real Deal’, a name suggested by the dearly departed Kevin Sheehy, described how “I am going to settle down a bit more and my hands will be a lot higher.”
“It won’t be as flashy as it was in the amateurs because sometimes in the amateurs I didn’t have to really perform the way I could perform. In the pros it will be a different story.”
“I’m going to have a lot of knockouts and, to be honest, I’m looking forward to smashing people up. I like to get the job done, showcase my boxing skills, be flexible, bring everything to the table, and after I do all that I’m sure I’ll get the stoppages and the big wins.”
Donovan has assembled something of a dream team and has the drive to knuckle down in the pros.
Brilliant exchange in Belfast over the weekend when Bob Arum met his new recruit Paddy Donovan for the first time.
“Wow! You’re the best-looking boxer I’ve had since Muhammad Ali. I hope you can fight!” pic.twitter.com/YtroQy16oS
— Ronan Mullen (@RonanReigns) August 6, 2019
He notes how “I’ve a wife and a kid now and that changes a lot. I’m not doing it for the fun of it now, I’m doing it because I want to make a living for my family. Right now, turning pro with Top Rank, they’re going to help me do that.”
“And Andy’s going to be very beneficial, the two of us have the same style, we’re from the same city, he won the same medal I won at the World Championships, he’s an Olympian and a World champion – there’s no better guy for me than Andy Lee.”
Always confident, Donovan is predicting big things for himself and also indicates that he won’t spend an overly long time building.
Seeing himself as almost a ‘ready to go’ contender, the powerful southpaw wants to be busy and reach the top with the minimum delay.
Donovan outlined how “the goal, right now, is to get off to a good start, get a lot of good wins and down the line be world champion.”
“I’m going to be world champion. I am going to be a world champion by the time I’m 23.”
“I was sparring Josh Kelly, he’s a great lad, Top 10 in the world, I haven’t even had a fight yet, let’s see how good I am after 10 fights.”
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