Eric Donovan [13(7)-1(1)] is one win from realising the dream and stepping happily into bonus territory.
The Kildare fighter fights Mario Alfano [15(4)-2(0)-1] for the vacant EU super featherweight title at Centro Sportivo Mario Rigamonti, Brescia, Italy on May 14.
The EU title is seen by most as the perfect stepping stone to the EBU strap the a more decorated continental crown.
However, Donovan sees things different. This title is not a stepping stone for the Mark Dunlop managed talent, more destination reached. It’s not that Donovan will retire if he manages to buckle the title around his waist, rather it’s the kind of success he targeted when turning over port 30, at a time most eye retirement.
Win the title and he will certainly target bigger fights but if they don’t come about he will be happy with what he achieved considering he previously walked away from the game.
“Well, I’ve always said this belt and title would be a dream come true for me. Anything a fter that is a bonus,” a fighter who would have been happy with an Irish title and some big nights responds when asked about it being a potentially progressive opponent.
To win the title and enjoy that success Donovan has to overcome Alfano on his home show in Italy, a country which was previously a grave yard for away fighters European dreams.
‘Lilywhite Lightning’ has no qualms about travel sickness and doesn’t think venue will have any bearing over the result.
“No, none at all,” he answers confidently when asked if he has concerns around travelling.
“Obviously I would love to be fighting in my country in front of all my fans but that’s the way life is at the minute. I’m a professional, I just have to focus on my job and perform on the night.”
Donovan was initially down to challenge Haithem Laamouz, who claimed the title by defeating Alfano, but had to relinquish the strap after failing a drug test, meaning Italian Alfano is back in.
The Irish champion notes it changes the style he faces but not the level of threat.
“I think Alfano’s an old school type of fighter, just comes forward and wants to have a tear up. He doesn’t seem to have any other function than a ploughing forward style and wants to have it toe to toe,” the St Michael’s Athy graduate added.
“The Maltese opponent seemed to be a bit more of a mover than Alfano and punches a bit more with movement. But there wasn’t a great deal between them and no, it never made much of a difference.”
There has been a real sense of goodwill surrounding Donovan and his story,he admits he senses that going into the European fight and claims it’s motivational.
“There is a bit of interest alright in this fight. I think it will begin to pick up now over the next week or so because we are still three weeks out. But I know how much Irish boxing and Irish sports fans want me to do the business on the 14th, there has been an incredible amount of support and well wishes from people. That gives me great motivation to succeed.”