Eric Donovan provided five-star dessert on the Bomb Proof dinner show on Sunday night.
The Irish featherweight champion eased to victory over Laszlo Szoke on the first indoor show in front of crowds in Ireland since February 2020.
Admittedly the victory came against a journeyman the Kildare fighter was always meant to defeat – something the featherweight pointed out himself afterward – but he still managed to impress in doing so.
The skillset and natural talent was obvious regardless, as he eased his way to a stoppage win. The 36-year-old got the Hungarian out of there with just over a minute remaining in the fourth – and could have got the job done earlier if he so wished.
However, rather than blast his opponent away the 36-year-old seemed to use the fight to rid himself of rust and to implement a slower style new trainer Pascal Collins has been calling for.
It went longer than his fiance Laura, who was away on her hen night, wanted considering their COVID delayed wedding takes place next month but Donovan managed to get some rounds in and emerge cut and mark-free nonetheless.
The class difference was apparent from early in the first round. The former amateur of note looked comfortable and capable of upping it a level but happy to spend time computing and working out what his opponent had to offer.
It was patient and methodical as Donovan appeared content to employ some alterations.
The second started similarly until his fellow southpaw tried his luck. Once the away fighter opened he got punished by ‘Lilywhite Lightening’ and after getting a taste for letting his hands go for the first time since he fought Rafael Castillo in Belgium last December, Donovan began to land clean and regular. Some brilliant and high-volume body punching hurt Szoke while anytime his hands dropped Donovan inflicted similar damage to his chin.
The MHD fighter couldn’t miss in the third. He worked both floors effectively and was continually hurting his foe. Indeed, the Irish featherweight champion knocked out the Magyar’s gumshield at the tail end of the session and only the arrival of the final bell prevented him from forcing the stoppage.
The fourth was something of an exhibition and those in the audience including former world champion Ryan Burnett were crying mercy and calling for the stoppage.
The referee saw enough 1:55 into the stanza and stepped in but to his credit, Szoke was on his feet and protesting.
Donovan now wants big fights and is confident his manager Mark Dunlop can secure them for him.