“Why Stop Now?” – Eric Donovan wans more belts following break-out win


Irish title around his waist, 33-year-old Eric Donovan wants to see how far he can go in the pros.

The Kildare featherweight claimed the national belt on Saturday night with a stunning body shot stoppage of Stephen McAfee.

The win marked a special moment for Donovan who was close to retiring due to injuries last year, but he doesn’t intend for it to be a career highlight.

‘The Lilywhite Lightning’ is eager to test himself and keep moving through the ranks having fallen in love with the sport once again.

“I’m delighted,” Donovan [9(5)-0] reflected after his ‘Clash of the Titans’ headline win.

“It just couldn’t have went better. I got the knockout win in front of my biggest fanbase, live on TV, my family there, friends there, everybody there.

“Just a really, really a special moment for me after so long out of the game dealing with injuries, I came back and had one of my best nights as a boxer.”

“It’s down to the life I’m living, I’m living this life, the professional life. I’m not talking about fights or talking about boxing, I’m living the life. I’m sacrificing a lot but I’m eating healthy, training hard, doing what my coaches tell me, and it’s paid off for me.”

Analysing the fight with his trademark incision, Donovan described how “the first and second round I threw in a few whipped left uppercuts – a few of my stoppages came from that punch – I whipped them in fast but didn’t stay in there because Stephen was throwing these bulldozing, thumping punches.”

“But, when I did land, I saw him wince just a little so I said I’d let his energy levels just fall a little bit then, in and around the fourth or fifth round, stand with him a little bit more, keep the hands tight, and try find the soft spot – that’s what happened.”

“He committed to his punch and when you commit to your punch you can’t be tense, you can’t retract your muscles because you’re committed to throwing a punch so you’re softened up in the solar plexus.”

A five-time Irish Elite Senior champion in the amateurs, Donovan now has the BUI’s green belt as well.

Considering his dark 2018, where finger and shoulder injuries threatened to derail his career, as well as the general shock when he turned pro back in 2016, Donovan is delighted to have broken through, live on TG4.

“It was magic,” explained the Athy southpaw.

“It’s up there, it’s one of the best nights because of what I’ve been through, coming back from all that and, at 33 years of age, with people saying I’ve left it too late – they were even saying that when I turned pro. All these people are just negative people.”

“At the end of the day, nobody knows except yourself about what you’re capable of. I believed in myself, I got training, I got sparring, I got a few fights under my belt, and I realised I still have it.”

“The limitations we have are the ones we put on ourselves.”

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In terms of the what’s next, Donovan has options.

An Irish title defence has been floated but an all-Kildare battle with Allan Phelan is unsure after ‘The Young Wolf’ failed to make super featherweight for his clash with Aiden Metcalfe at the weekend.

The BBBoC Celtic and the chance to become champion of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales may be the best route, while the EU title soon to be contested by Carlos Ramos and Martin Parlagi is another goal.

Donovan just wants to keep moving and notes how “I’m excited to see where this journey can bring me.”

“I’m back in love with it, why stop now?”

“I want the big titles, European titles, Inter-Continental titles, I want to test myself against the good guys. I’ve been a world class amateur and I believe I can be a world class pro.”

Kildare boxing is proudly supported by Liffey Crane Hire

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie