Zelfa Barrett [23(14)-1(0)] hasn’t been immune to the Eric Donovan charm offensive and admits, so nice is the Kildare fighter, he doesn’t want to punch him in the face this week.
Donovan has revelled in the extra spotlight shone on him during fight week. The 35-year-old has made a fan of Eddie Hearn, further impressed Tony Bellew, and has secured the support of fight followers outside Ireland with his articulate and passionate approach throughout his media duties.
Fight Camp rival Barrett has also taken a shine to the the St Michael’s Athy graduate, so much so he’d prefer not to have to fight him tonight.
“There is no bad blood with Eric, he’s such a nice guy I almost don’t want to fight him!”, quips the new Matchroom signing.
Having a developed a grá for the Irish featherweight champion won’t prevent the Manchester fighter from trying to get the job done and stealing back some of the limelight tonight.
The 27-year-old respects his opponent, but certainly isn’t blown away by the European and EU medal winner.
As a result, he is confident of starting his Matchroom career on a positive note in Essex tonight.
“But let’s be real, I believe I’m better than him at everything. He’s not stronger than me, he’s not faster than me, there’s nothing he does that is better than me.”
“And that’s not me being arrogant, that’s just honesty. He’s got nothing where I think: ‘wow’.”
“The only thing he’s had, and I will applaud him for it, is his amateur experience. I’ll shake his hand for that,” he noted before questioning Donovan’s pro pedigree.
“But as a pro, any fighter he has fought, I’d knock them out. Period. End of story.”
“There are levels in this boxing game. I don’t underestimate him, but I know what I need to do. Eric is trying to stop my journey and I won’t let it happen.”