Eric Donovan dreaming of European title fight with Kiko Martinez following nightmare 2018


Eric Donovan [8(4)-0] is demanding a step up in opponents as he returns from what he believed could have been career threatening injuries.

Having progressed quite nicely to 6-0 in the 18 months directly after his June 2016 debut the popular Athy fighter suffered a frustrating 2018.

This year brought with it just two fights for the 33-year-old and injuries that made him question whether or not he would box again.

However, after recovering from a succession of injuries the former amateur standout and respected RTÉ pundit is gearing up for a breakthrough 2019 and a possible bout with one Kiko Martinez.

“I thought for a while that I wouldn’t be getting the chance to box again,” the St Michael’s Athy BC graduate explained to Irish boxing journalist Kevin Byrne.

“I have been absolutely very unlucky with injuries. It started off with a hand injury, as soon as I got that right ,it developed into a frozen shoulder, so I had to go through the whole procedure of that, steroid injections, surgery, etc,the lot.”

“I am starting to see light at the end of the tunnel now, letting the hands go, and it feels absolutely brilliant.

“I am loving this chance, this opportunity to get back in the ring.”

With the injury behind him, the five-time National Elite Irish champion and European and EU bronze medal winner is training with Kenneth Egan at the Macho Gym in Ballymount and is confident he will have a more positive 2019.

After the 12 months he has had, ‘Lilywhite Lightning’ is aware he can’t go calling for the biggest names in the division, but he remains adamant that the European title is still a realistic goal.

“I still think I can be a European champion. I 100 percent believe it and Ken believes it.”

The current custodian of the belt is a name well-known to Irish fight fans.

Spanish hardman Martinez [39(28)-8(3)-2] won the belt for the fourth time when he dethroned countryman Marc Vidal last month and the former Bernard Dunne and Carl Frampton foe is a fighter Donovan would love to face.

“I relish that fight. I have never dodged a fighter in my life,” explained the Kildare southpaw whose team have spoken to 32-year-old Martinez in the past.

“I said to myself last week ‘I haven’t a leg to stand on at the moment, I am just coming back from surgery, I can’t go start calling boxers out’, but I know for a fact that when I am fully fit and physically and mentally in good shape I will get in with any of them, any featherweights.”

“I am not a million miles away. I am only one or two scalps away from getting into that position and the hardest part for me right now is to get opponents.”

The Boxing Ireland fighter would have been forgiven for easing his way back in after a torrid time, but the eager-to-kick-on talent is adamant he no longer wants to fight journeymen.

Indeed, the fighter who has been frustrated by the lack of willing domestic opponents, claims he will face an undefeated featherweight when he does make a ring return in early 2019.

“I am sick of boxing journeymen, I have boxed a few of them.”

“I have boxed two decent enough pros since I turned pro, Dai Davies and [Juancho] ‘El Pitbull’ Gonzalez.”

“Two half-decent professional boxer and you seen what I did with them. They didn’t lay a glove on me so I need a step up against good quality featherweights.”

“My manager [Leonard Gunning] said he has a good undefeated featherweight lined up for me in the new year and I can’t wait to sink my teeth into him.”

Watch Kevin Byrne’s interview with Eric Donovan and Kenny Egan in full below:

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