Change of opponent doesn’t mean change of plans – Eric Donovan puts pressure on Boxing Ireland to deliver

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A change of opponent doesn’t mean a change of 2020 plans for Irish champion Eric Donovan [11(6)-0].

The popular Kildare fighter claims his promoters and not who he fights this weekend remain key to opening European title doors this year, as he somewhat ramps the pressure up on Boxing Ireland.

The lilywhite saw Cristian Montilla pull out of their agreed Celtic Clash 10 top of the bill tussle during fight week. The former Spanish champion was seen as a possible stepping stone toward an EU or even a coveted EBU title fight.

Mexican Joseafat Reyes [8(2)-11(0)-1] has been drafted in and while he is tough and not too much of a step down in quality his record isn’t as sexy or as eye catching suggesting a headline win at the Devenish this Saturday won’t catch as many headlines.

Donovan claims that fact remains irrelevant in terms of progression. The Kenneth Egan-trained fighter, who has been quite open about retiring at the end of the year if he hasn’t a world ranking in the bag or a big European title lined up for 2021, says it’s his promoter’s job to secure him the kind of fights he feels he deserves.

“I still have big plans, I just need the right people to take me there, it’s not about opponents it’s about influence, promotional and managerial ability,” Donovan told

“It’s a case of get me the big fights and I’ll be ready for them,” he adds before clearly laying out what he wants during the year he will get married.

“This year, is a very special year because I will be getting married in July. So hopefully two or three fights before then and one or two after July and by the end of the year I was to be in possession of a world ranking belt, or a EU European title. I’ll even settle for a mandatory by the end of 2020, but it could possibly be my final year if I don’t get the breaks.”

In terms of what the late replacement means for where it matters in the ring, Donovan isn’t too perturbed. The five-time National Elite Champ and European and EU bronze medalist is confident he can adapt and is just happy he got a solid sub.

“I feel okay,” he continues.

“Initially I was a little miffed but what do you do? I’ve trained hard and prepared very well, but I can only control the things I’m in control of. I’m just happy to have a decent replacement.”

Reyes, who lives in Spain but hails from Nuevo Leon, Mexico has lost 11 of 20 fights, but his record is a little deceiving.

The 26-year-old has been relative competitive against some top level fighters.

He was unfortunate not to have got the decision against Joe Ham in Scotland, took a round off former unified world champion Ryan Burnett, and went the distance with another former world title holder Paul Butler, He also has upset previous and wins from the away corner meaning Donovan is well aware a test awaits.

“His record is a little deceiving, he lost to two World champions and two European Champions, caused upsets to two potential champions on their own shows, so I’m acutely aware of his ability and experience,” he adds before pointing out he also has to change his approach and gameplan.

“Almost all of my sparring was with orthodox fighters except on two days I had a few rounds with a southpaw. So, with Reyes being a southpaw, it is a case of drawing on my own natural ability and instincts. I think Ignac Kassai in Waterford was my last time to fight a southpaw.”

Donovan has really begun to develop a strong following. His punditry work and clean cut approach always gave him crossover appeal and recent love from Newstalk as well as some impressive performances and work within the community has seen his fan base grow.

He wants to put in a performance for the many who are coming to see him Saturday knowing ticket sales could play a part in him kicking onto the next level.

“My prediction is to win, and I know the stakes as professional boxer to always try and win impressively. I’m selling my next fight to on Saturday’s performance.

“I love been the main event, I’m a star attraction in my own head anyway!; I wanna thank my fiancee Laura, my family, my coach, my manager promoter, all my sponsors and all my fans – I have 200+ coming – for all the support and backing. I am very grateful.”


Jonny Stapleton contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 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: