The OLOL switch-hitter claimed the Irish U18 title on Saturday morning, however the win came 12 or so hours later than expected.
Donovan was due to box Cavan’s Nathan Mongan at the National Stadium on Friday night and was just minutes away from stepping into the ring before the well-publicised gunshots in the vicinity the venue occurred and brought the night to a premature halt.
The European Junior gold medalist did not let the incident derail him however, and dealt with the postponement like a pro.
“We were one round away, gloves on, everything ready to go, walking down the steps – then the shots got fired and all the crowd were running,” he recalled to Irish-Boxing.com.
“The fight got put off and put back to the following morning at 10. We were professional about it and stayed focused.”
“After the shots went off, at the time, everyone was fussing and going everywhere, but we got back to the hotel, had a chat, and went to bed.”
“We got up early in the morning then, had our breakfast, had another chat, got our eye back in the game, and got everything rolling again.”
Donovan claimed a comprehensive unanimous decision win when he finally did take to the ring, implementing a gameplan tailored for Mongan and the final to claim his sixth Irish title.
He described how “I boxed in the quarter-finals and the semi-finals southpaw – but I’m a switcher and I came out in the final orthodox. We worked on a plan to come out orthodox with a lot of feinting, drawing him out and countering fast.”
“We thought that would suit it better, switching it up. We worked on that plan at home and then, come the fight, it worked perfect. I got the decision 5-0 which I’m over the moon with.”
This month’s championships marked a return to competitive action for Donovan following a long hiatus. Now in his second year in the U18/Youth class, the talented teenager spent much of 2017 building.
Donovan explained how “from March last year to the quarter-finals in January without a fight.”
“Last year we were sort of caught in the weights, I won the Irish [Junior 2 66kg] and I was training, but I didn’t know what to do. My brother Paddy was 64kg and I was walking about at 66kg, I was too small for 69kg at the time and my brother-in-law Jason Harty was there.”
“Me and my dad had a chat and he told me that ‘we’ll pull you out of this and we’ll keep training over the Summer, working on things, improving every day, and we’ll get ready for the next under-18s when you’re the proper age’.”
“I had a bit of ring rust in the quarter-final but I got through handy enough, I got the stoppage in the third round – but the first round was a slow start after being out of the ring for a good while.”
Along with his brother, World Junior silver medalist Paddy, Donovan has spent time in England sparring over the years with major names in the Ingle Wincobank Gym
Almost nonchalantly, Donovan notes how “I was over in Sheffield, I was sparring Kid Galahad and Junior Witter, brilliant spars. Then I was over in Westside Boxing Club in Manchester, a very good club, and had a lot of brilliant spars over there with amateurs and pros, English champions.”
With plenty of experience in the bank, a hard-working mentality, obvious skill and pedigree, along with a year spent developing away from the spotlight, Donovan is ready now to take the international scene by storm once again.
First up, and his only focus at the minute, is the European Youth Championships in Italy, however 2018 is a year which also features the World Championships, Youth Olympics, and the Nikolay Pavlyukov ‘mini worlds’.
Donovan has gold on his mind and states confidently that “every tournament I enter, I’m always looking to top the podium. I’ve done it before and hopefully I’ll do it again.”
“I’ve confidence that I can do it again. It’s all about getting a fair decision.”
“I know that if I get a fair decision I can beat any boxer in the world. If I get that, I know I can win another gold medal.”