The Athy featherweight boxes for the fifth time as a pro on Saturday September 9th at the National Stadium in Dublin on the ‘Celtic Clash 3: Building Champions’ card. Like he did on ‘Celtic Clash 2: The Rising’ back in May, Donovan will headline the show, but this time around he will face the first real test of his career.
Making a jump up to title level at a very early stage, the Kildare southpaw will box Dai Davies over eight rounds for the BUI Celtic title. The reigning Welsh featherweight champ and former Welsh super featherweight champ, Davies has mixed it with some of the best of British boxing over the last decade. Across his 41-fight career he holds wins over Commonwealth champion Robbie Turley and English champion Andy Townend, has drawn with former IBF bantamweight World champion Jamie McDonnell, and shared the ring with numerous other belt holders – include IBF featherweight world champion Lee Selby.
2010 European bronze medalist Donovan racked up four wins, all at the National Stadium, in his first twelve months as a pro. He began by outpointing Damian Lawniczak and stopping Krzysztof Rogowski last year before claiming further knockouts against Stephan Nicolae and Laszlo Horvath. Davies however is a whole different kettle of fish, and a refreshingly risky move from the Kildare favourite.
A big step into the unknown for Donovan who is skipping up several levels for the clash, the 32 year old is eager to test himself and has pushed manager Leonard Gunning for this fight. ‘Lilywhite Lightning’ explained how “I believe I’m a World class boxer. I’ve mixed it with the best amateur boxers in the World, World class fighters. I’ve been in the ring with Olympic champions, World champions, European champions. Sometimes I’ve come out on top, sometimes I’ve come out on the losing side, but I’ve never ever been out of my depth.”
“I’ve a wealth of experience, a lot of knowledge, and I just want to put that to the test because I’m 32 years of age now, it’s a tough tough sport, no doubt about it, and I don’t want to be messing about in this game. I’m either good enough, or I’m not. How do I find out if I’m good enough? Give me good opponents and let me test myself against them.”
“I just want big names, big challenges, big fights. The fanbase that I’m building right now is growing all the time and I want to start reaping some rewards for the amount of work and effort that I’m putting into it. all systems go for the 9th of September and let’s hope it’s another memorable night for me.”
Davies certainly does tick the boxes for Donovan, and a win here could set him up for an Irish title fight or a match-up with another notable name from across the water. On the other hand, his 34 year old opponent has his own title roadmap in mind, and a win over a rising prospect like Donovan could put the experienced Merthyr Tydfil man in line for a shot at the British belt. A high-stakes bout for both, both will be coming to the ring fully prepared and desperate to claim a springboard win next month in Dublin.
While Floyd Mayweather is hoping to get to 50-0 when he takes on Conor McGregor in Las Vegas on August 26th, Donovan is not one to get hung up on records. he is more about fulfilling dreams, and he outlined how “I’m not pushed about records and ‘undefeated’ and stuff like that. I just want to get in good fights and go and win. I don’t fear losing. If I’m not good enough, I’m not good enough.”
“I was the first Irish Elite amateur champion from St. Michael’s Boxing Club in Athy and I would love to bring home the first Irish professional title to the club as well, My dream is to get a crack at the European title. If I win a European title it’ll be an absolute dream come true, but I know there’s a couple of stepping stones before I get there.”
The first big stepping stone comes on September 9th.
Headlined by the Donovan-Davies title fight, the ‘Celtic Clash 3: Building Champions’ card also features Stephen McAfee, Martin Quinn, Regan Buckley, Colin O’Donovan, Chris Mullally, Michael Gallagher, Niall O’Connor, James Cahill, Gerard Whitehouse, Bernard Roe, John Joyce, and Carl McDonald.
Tickets for the show cost €30 (Balcony), €40 (Gallery), €60 (Ringside), €100 (VIP Premium), and €15 (Under-15s gallery – must be bought alongside an adult ticket) and are available to buy from the Healthy Living Centre, 2 Duke Street, Athy, County Kildare, or by calling Laura on 086 7949 406, or online at Ticketmaster.ie.
Photo Credit: Laszlo Geczo Photography