Eric Donovan Happy to Ruffle Some Matchroom Feathers

Eric Donovan [13(7)-1(1)] says he is open to fighitng any big-name featherweight Matchroom have to offer ahead of his ring return this coming weekend.

The Kildare favourite returns to action after a nine-month layoff when he faces Laszlo Szoke [2(2)-5(1)] in the Europa Hotel hosted Bomb Proof card.

The clash is a get busy bout for the returning from injury star but once the EU title hopeful gets the victory under his belt, he is hoping for a return to big-time action.

Revisiting the EU title fight a rib injury forced him out of may be an option, not to mention the possibility of taking on any of the names around feather and super feather on the Matchroom stable.

The five-time Irish national champion was promised another Matchroom date by Eddie Hearn after his defeat to Zelfa Barrett in the summer of 2020 and wasn’t shy about ruffling a few feathers as he called out newly crowned world champion and ordered Michael Conlan opponent, Leigh Wood and others on the star-studded Matchroom roster.

“There’s load in that Matchroom stable, you’ve Leigh Wood there who just won a world title, Jordan Gill and the two boys who just fought each other Kid Galahad and Jazza Dickens, these are all fights that I would love, these are dream fights for me, and fights I would back myself in,” Donovan told Irish-boxing.com.

The Kildare fighter first must focus on his fight this weekend and speaking with regard to his the layoff and just getting back into the swing of things he said: “I’m a very fresh 36-year-old, I live a good life, I’m a healthy man, very passionate about my health and well-being. I’m 36 but I’m in better shape than some 26-year-olds.

“This fight will just get me back on track, I haven’t boxed since last December I had two fights that fell by the wayside, one in March when there was a logistics issue with my opponent’s medical and the EU title fight when I picked up an injury and didn’t get to fight.

“This fight is about getting some rounds under my belt and hopefully, once this is out of the way I’ll be back in a title fight or big fight at least before the end of the year.”

“I’m sparring very well, I’m very sharp, very conditioned and the rounds I’ve been doing have been good, working on a few things with Packie (Collins) and showcasing my skills and transferring them from training on to the main stage.”

The Athy BC graduate also reflected on his sole career defeat to now world-ranked Matchroom star Zelfa Barrett [26(16)-1(0]. The 36-year-old says he learnt a lot from the fight and believes he has the beatings of the Manchester fight he scared just over 12 months ago.

“If I boxed Zelfa Barrett tomorrow it would be a completely different result, I’m a better boxer than Zelfa, he just caught me clean and I never really recovered after the first big shot.”

Donovan made no excuses regarding the loss stating: “I made the mistakes, I gave him the openings and that’s down to my own inexperience in the professional game. There were a few things that I needed to work on, that was the longest I’ve gone in a pro fight and especially at that level and I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t know how to preserve energy and take my foot off the gas, how to tie him up and how to spoil the fight when I had such a handsome lead.”

“I could have been able to protect that lead but I just kept doing the same thing, look, it’s a massive learning fight, and confidence, I was massively confident going into the fight anyway, so I’m still a very confident person. I knew I could handle him and that I could compete at that level so that was no surprise and when I look back at it, I could see how superior I was to him in terms of boxing skills and how I was winning the rounds with relative ease. I actually believe now at this moment in time that I am a better fighter than I was back then.”

Josh Reid McCabe

Boxing fanatic, part-time writer for the Star newspaper Email mccabejosh3@gmail.com