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Donovan Double shows the true nature of Irish boxing

‘It will be tough, getting out of Limerick can be hard,’ answers Martin ‘Gugu’ Donovan much to the bemusement of the questioner.

The inquiry was made the way of the OLOL coach at the final press conference ahead of the Matchroom Boxing card that played out at the Ulster Hall on Saturday night.

‘All set for the fight this weekend?’ was the query and no doubt the person asking it was expecting a response with reference to one of the fights the press conference was convened to promote.

At that time eldest son, Paddy Donovan was mid-media work and just a day shy of making weight for a ‘Danger Zone’ bout he subsequently won via knockout.

However, the first thought that sprung to mind for Donovan Sr was his youngest boxing boy, Martin, and his Limerick underage championship clash on Sunday.

It’s not that the county title was any more or less important than the ‘The Real Deal’s’ DAZN-broadcast WBA International title defence, more so it was just one of two big but differing level fights for the Donovan family that weekend – and the one that sprung to mind at that moment.

Regardless, it was an incident that showed the true beauty of Irish boxing. The degrees of separation between the very bottom to the very top are less than in any other sport – indeed, they are virtually non-existent.

Here, surrounded by the media frenzy the Matchroom juggernaut brings to the town was a coach with an event in Southside Boxing Club on his mind.

As is it was ‘Gugu’, who also coaches Irish U22 and Senior Champion Kian Hedderman, underage standout Jim Donovan, pro Edward Donovan, helped oversee the Matchroom fighter’s hard-earned win in Belfast on Saturday night before rising early to make the four-hour trek to Limerick, where he cornered young Martin’s Limerick title win.

As if to prove the ‘boxing matters regardless of the level’ point, Shaun Kelly, who coaches BUI Celtic title winners, Graham McCormack and Jamie Morrissey, was in the opposite corner with Tadgh O’Neill in his Treaty County colours.

There are 100s of similar examples we could point to across the years but this one just caught our attention this weekend.


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years