As reported last night, Donovan will top the ‘Clash of the Titans’ bill at the National Stadium, a co-promotion between Assassin Boxing and Boxing Ireland Promotions, live on TG4.
Irish-Boxing.com can now reveal that the bill will take place on Saturday March 30th and that Kildare featherweight will face Dubliner Stephen McAfee [5(2)-0-1] over ten rounds for the vacant Irish 126lbs crown.
McAfee, who entered professional boxing via kickboxing, a limited amateur career, and a successful stint on the Irish semi-pro circuit, has enjoyed a whirlwind career since turning pro in 2016.
Already with all-Irish experience, ‘Showtime Stephen’ overcame Colin O’Donovan in an epic two-fight series to claim the BUI Celtic super featherweight title.
Mandatory for the Irish belt at 130lbs, McAfee saw a title fight with Feargal McCrory fall through at late notice last November – with the Tyrone southpaw subsequently winning the vacant Irish lightweight strap versus Karl Kelly last weekend in Belfast.
With few eligible options at super feather, and with the chance of a massive TV fight with noted name Donovan, McAfee will now make the journey down four pounds for the big bill in six weeks time.
It looks to be a tough fight for ‘Lilywhite Lightning’ Donovan who will be at a size disadvantage – not to mention returning straight in at the deep end following a prolonged period of injury.
The Athy fighter won and defended the BUI Celtic belt in 2017 with wins over Dai Davies and Juancho Gonzalez respectively but was restricted to just two fights versus journeymen in 2018 due to finger and shoulder injuries.
Now training with Olympic silver medallist and former team-mate Ken Egan at the Macho Gym in Dublin, the 33-year-old has elected to back himself and his body and go into a title fight with no warm-ups.
Donovan is keen to challenge European champion and former World title holder Kiko Martinez, and a national title win should push him into the rankings for the blue belt – but the gutsy and powerful McAfee will have upset aspirations of his own having continually risked and progressed throughout his short career to date.
The green belt was last held by Belfast’s Marco McCullough who stopped Willie Casey in Belfast back in October 2013 on the Carl Frampton v Jeremy Parodi undercard at the Odyssey, with world title challenger Pajo Hyland holding the crown previously.
A second Irish title fight will also feature on the TV card along with a number of other domestic dust-ups – all of which will be revealed inside the next hour.