A fight between two novice super featherweights, Stephen McAfee and Colin O’Donovan managed to live up to the substantial hype in the build-up and put on a memorable eight-round BUI Celtic title fight.
Sallynoggin’s McAfee [3(2)-0-1] edged the brawl, a rematch of their six-round war in December, taking a 77-75, 77-76, 76-77 split decision win at Good Counsel GAA club in Drimnagh.
An extremely close fight, some felt that Youghal’s O’Donovan was deserving of the win – but the man himself dismissed this in the immediate aftermath.
“One judge saw it my way, two judges saw it his way, he got a well-deserved win in my opinion,” an upbeat O’Donovan told Irish-Boxing.com. “That’s the way it goes.”
“He worked beautiful on the inside, got outside my lead foot, and worked the bodyshots… they were working a treat. A fight is a fight and we had daecent craic. I loved it, it was unreal”
“I said I was going to go and put on a decent show and, if I don’t put him on his ass, that I was going to go out on my shield. I gave it as good as I got and, at the end of the day, I lost it by about a round or two.”
“If he put me away inside a round I’d probably be back here crying, but when you lose by a round or two you can’t be upset.”
“He got his well-deserved win tonight, he’s happy, and I’m glad we got to have a chit-chat, no hard feelings.”
The build-up had indeed been heated, with some testy verbals and genuine dislike after an unsatisfactory result for both in their first meeting.
O’Donovan confirmed that this mini-feud had ended following their eight-round war
The Cork 28-year old noted how “I can’t take anything away from him, he’s a great lad, sound out, and the shit-talk was just shit-talk.”
“I’m glad we got to touch gloves and put the shit-talk aside and embrace as two fighters, two warriors, as we should – and as we should’ve after the first one, but I could see it from his point of view with the draw in front of his home crowd, he was disappointed.”
“I’m just glad everybody enjoyed it. The views alone on Round Zero, the interviews, the fight, it’s boosting both of our profiles.”
Some of the talk did impact O’Donovan, who explained how McAfee “said to me ‘you said you want wars but you were on your bike [in the first fight]’. I’m not taking anything away from him, but in the first one I was on a worse diet, so I wanted to show that I could stick it to him and that we can work in a box. ”
“We can put the shit-talk aside, McAfee’s a warrior, I knew he was coming to fight and I knew I was going to have to fight him in front of his home crowd and I knew he was going to be trying to make it a more dominant result. I’m glad to have been able to bring a war to him.”
A trilogy has already been spoken about – although Boxing Ireland boss Leonard Gunning has stated that he would like to see a third fight take place in front of TV cameras.
O’Donovan [1(1)-2(1)-1] just wants to fight, whenever wherever, whoever.
He outlined how “if there’s a trilogy in the mix, there’s a trilogy in the mix. If he doesn’t want to do it straight away, I fully understand. The fact we did it again straight after the first one – that’s the Warrior’s fucking Code.”
“If another couple of fights down the road he says ‘let’s do it again’ – unreal stuff.”
“I started this game when I was 21 or 22, there was no way I was going to be walking around with some perfect record. I said from the very first day to my managers: ‘I’ll go on the road, I’ll be in the journeyman corner, and I’ll take any fight that comes my way so I can test myself against the best.”
“I’m going to heal the face up and get back training. I’ll leave off the sparring but I’ll be back on the road jogging and just happy out that I can get back into proper training after having had to taper off for this fight.
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)