An emotional Paddy Donovan [7(5)-0] dedicated his eye-catching Feile win to his late Uncle William Donovan.
The Top Rank fighter’s uncle, who was also one of his biggest fans, passed away at the young age of 28 in late June.
The tragedy prompted the 22-year-old to consider pulling out of the first card to come to Ireland since February 2020.
However, the Andy Lee trained welter felt it important to fight in honour of an uncle – he saw more like a brother – and took the ring despite a disrupted camp.
Speaking after the stylish stoppage he was keen to dedicate the stylish stoppage win to the late William.
“An uncle of mine passed away a couple of weeks ago, so it was very hard for me to train. I only did two and a half weeks of training for this. I’ve been trying to keep it all together before this show and because he was such a big fan of me and my boxing I held it together so I could perform for him,” Donovan told Irish-boxing.com.
“I think I did that and I want to dedicate this win to my uncle William that passed away.”
Adding to Donovan’s emotion was the crowd’s reaction to his first-round stoppage win over Jose Luis Castillo [not that one].
A packed Falls Park afforded him a rousing reception and his win was greeted with noise the like of which he never heard whilst in the ring before. The standout prospect admits it was a dream-like scenario.
“Absolutely brilliant,” he beamed through teary eyes. “To see the fans like that there is nothing else like it.”
“When you hear and see them there is nothing else like it, it’s hard to keep your emotions together, but thankfully I did and it couldn’t have gone better even in a dream.”
With his camp interrupted ‘The Real Deal’ didn’t get the WBC Youth world title fight he initially targeted and Castillo wasn’t quite an improvement on his last two opponents.
However, Donovan still was keen to show a wider audience what the hype is about – and he felt he did that in the brief time he was in the ring.
“I want to show people I’m really good.
“I’m a 22-year-old star coming through, I’m training hard, listening to good people in my Dad and Andy Lee. I’m on the right path. I love leaving statements like this, letting people know who I am. See how that crowd reacted? That’s what I’m all about, that’s what I’m made for. I’m living the dream and long may it continue.”
There is a real air of confidence about Donovan. The former underage standout doesn’t stray over the line and enter the realms of cockiness but he does have faith in his ability to the extent he feels it would take someone ultra-special to get one over on him.
“Part of fighting for me is to put on a show but the win is the bottom line. I’ll fight, I’ll box, I’ll go the middle distance with anyone if I have to just to get the win. My aim is to keep my 0 and it will take a superstar and some fighter to take it off me. I’m going to keep improving, keep listening and keep putting on performances like this. Imagine the fan base then,” he continues before laying out his next step.
“I’ll go right back into camp and hopefully get that WBC youth world title fight.”