He is known as one of the nice guys of Irish boxing, but Eric Donovan can be selfish when he needs to be.
The Kildare featherweight is hoping his close friend and former Irish team mate Andy Lee will continue as his coach.
The European title hopeful had the former WBO World middleweight champion in his corner as he beat Juan Luis Gonzalez on December 2 and had the Limerick man as trainer for the majority of his pre fight camp.
Considering Lee hasn’t officially retired and is a new father the pair didn’t have a traditional regimented trainer fighter relationship leading into National Stadium bout, but the former Athy BC puncher claims it was a link up that work.
Lee more answered the call of a friend than made a career decision when he took up the pads for the clash and hasn’t committed to anything moving forward, but Donovan is hoping will remain his coach.
“I am only working with Andy five or six weeks and I can see a massive difference. I am looking forward to developing that. Obviously I have to respect Andy and his career and his choices, but from a selfish point of view I’d love for that relationship to prosper and continue,” Donovan explained after the clash.
While speaking to Newstalk before the Celtic Clash 4 fight Lee had said he was trying to get the skills fighter accustomed and comfortable with being on the inside.
It’s certainly a point Donovan took up and something he brought into the fight.
“I wasn’t panicking on the inside when he was throwing, a couple of times I was lifting my chin in the air and Andy was telling me to keep it down. I wasn’t panicking on the inside and that’s one thing he was trying to help me to do, to be able to breath and remain emotionally calm in the danger zone and in the pocket.
“I have good upper body reflexes and defences and he said to me use that instead of panicking to get out because that’s when you can really get caught. So when I was in there and he was throwing that is when people were saying get out of there and ‘get back to your boxing’ but I knew what I was doing.”
Middleweight Lee, who worked under the legendary Manny Steward and is now coached by Adam Booth, also wanted to see Donovan be that bit more spiteful in the ring.
It’s a transition most amateur converts have to make and there was no doubt ‘Lillywhite Lightening’ was keen to strike a knock out blow on Saturday night last , but as he explained afterwards the Spaniard was not for folding.
“I really enjoyed it. At times I was getting frustrated because I was thinking ‘he is not going down, he is taking some shots’. Body and head and in rapid succession and I think it was the fourth or fifth round I took a round off because I started very fast and was rounds up after dominating. So I took a round off just to come back and get a bit of a recharge, still win the round, but get a recharge. Then I opened up in the last three rounds, but he just wouldn’t go. I could hear him wincing on the inside, but he just wouldn’t go,” he continued.
“I told Andy I wasn’t happy I didn’t finish him and he said that was good because at least it shows I wanted to entertain as well,” Donvovan added before pointing out that he felt he bossed the fight despite the fact it went the full eight.
“It’s massive learning for me against a good guy. He couldn’t handle me. He just couldn’t handle my speed, couldn’t handle my movement, my quickness and inteligence shone through and it’s eight good rounds in the bank. I buzzed him a few times, but some guys are conditioned to take big shots to the head.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)