Cinderella Man McDonagh aiming for Euro belt after Fury undercard slot

Welterweight Peter McDonagh is Ireland’s Cinderella Man, he’s gone from journeyman to beltholder, opponent to star, and the Galway man is now targeting the European strap.

By virtue of he Irish title win over Dean Byrne last November, McDonagh is ranked in the EBU Top 15, and has his sights set on the belt currently held by Italy’s Leonard Bundu.

The 38 year old appears on the undercard of Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko’s rematch at the Manchester Arena next month, and hopes a tenth win in a row on the July 9th card will further push him towards a continental belt

The Connemara Kid outlined how “I’m in the top fifteen of the European rankings, so there’s a good chance I’ll get a shot at the European title.”

“That’s the plan. That’s what we’re hoping for.”

Pinpointing his reversal of fortunes,three-weight Irish champ McDonagh explained that “three years ago, in 2013, I lost my sister to breast cancer and came really close to retiring from boxing.”

“But I went over to the MGM gym in Marbella and told my manager, Daniel Kinahan, I was going to retire. He said, ‘Don’t retire, give it one more shot and see how you go.’

“I was on a losing streak and everything. But, as soon as I hooked up with the MGM and my manager, it all changed.”

“I went from strength to strength. I’m unbeaten in nine now. I’ve won three titles since I’ve been with them and I’ve still got the desire to go on and win bigger titles.”

“I’m a promoted and managed fighter now. How far can I go? Let’s see.”

“I’ve beaten champions. I beat the kid who beat Luke Campbell (Yvan Mendy) but didn’t get the decision. I beat Michele Di Rocco and never got the decision. I beat Lee Purdy. I beat Michael Gomez. I beat Dean Byrne. I know what level I’m at – I just need the opportunity.”

Indeed the man who coined the term ‘records are for DJs’ also believes that he is at the peak of his powers, noting that “physically, I feel the best I’ve ever felt; age is just a number.”

““When I turned pro at 24, people said, ‘How long do you think you can do it?’ he begins. I said, ‘Look, I could be finished after one fight, or I could have 80. You never know.’ You just listen to your body and see how you feel.”

The Boxnation-aired fight next month will actually be the MGM boxer’s second appearance on a heavyweight World title undercard having faced Olympic starlet Bradley Saunders on the David Haye-John Ruiz bill in 2012

Comparing the two, McDonagh described how “I was on just before the main event. But obviously it’s a lot different this time around.”

“This is the heavyweight championship of the world, not just one of the belts. This is much, much bigger. And it’s Tyson Fury and Wladimir Klitschko. That also makes it special.”

“Klitschko is a legend of the sport and one of the real icons. I don’t think a promoter has brought someone of that stature to England for many years. It’s exciting.”

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie