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Back on the box Eric Donovan plans to tempt RTE back to boxing

Eric Donovan [13(7)-1(1)] is hoping to entice RTE back into boxing in 2021.

The absence of the National Broadcaster from the sport has been lamented for over a decade.

The stations decision not to air the sweet science has played part in creating the anything but a booming state of affairs, that pro boxing outside Belfast finds itself it.

Irish fight fans continually harp back to the Bernard Dunne days and have been waiting for the second coming ever since one Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym forced the Dubliner into retirement.

Willie Casey, Andy Lee, Andrew Murray and others did ensure pro boxing got air time, but RTE eventually withdrew from the sport in 2011 for financial reasons.

TG4 have had success showing the likes of Donovan, Ray Moylette and Last Man Standing in more recent years, but don’t look likely to get involved anytime soon.

Donovan hopes to lure terrestrial television back to the Irish domestic game this year and has his sights set on RTE, a station who know his value as a pundit.

The 35-year-old has a Sky Sports option and will most likely appear on a Matchroom show next, as Eddie Hearn is aware he would add value to the purposed Sky Sports and Matchroom Belfast 2021 card.

The Kildare fighter will no doubt oblige if given the chance, but still has aspirations to fight closer to home and to do so on RTE.

“My dream for 2021 would be to work my way into a European title shot or a World Continental title and maybe entice RTE back into it,” Donovan told the Kildare Nationalist.

“It would be a dream come through to box in front of my home crowd. My last five fights have been in London, Glasgow, Belfast, London and now Brussels. My ultimate dream would be to fight in Kildare but I don’t think we have the venues for that,” he added before targeting a return to featherweight and a slot on the proposed Matchroom Belfast bill.

“I know time is running out for me so I want to seize every opportunity. I’m going to get back to feather weight and there is a big fight for me there at that weight. A show in the Belfast Arena with James Tennyson, Tommy McCarthy and myself would be a massive show.”

‘Lilywhite Lightning’ cleared the path for a big fight return by returning to winning ways in Belgium last week.

The St Michael’s Athy BC graduate whitewashed Rafael Castillo in Belgium.

Speaking to Irish-boxing.com about his thirteenth career win, Donovan admitted he wasn’t overly happy with the display.

“I didn’t feel great in there at all, I wasn’t happy with the performance either. But happy to get what we went out for, which was the win,” he said before reasoning as to why.

“I felt very little going into the fight, maybe that’s the reason my performance was below par.

“You could say the contrast between my last fight [against Zelfa Barrett live on Sky Sports] and this one was like night and day from opponent to the event, that could have had a bearing on that. I don’t know?”

It was fight was also Donovan’s first under the watchful eye of new coach Pascal Collins.

The Kildare fighter feels he is improving under the experienced pro coach.

“There’s a particular punch we’ve been working on. I threw it a couple of times, it landed flush and caused problems for him. It’s a work in progress but it will only get better and prove to be a pivotal punch in my arsenal going forward. “

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com