Eric Donovan delighted to have “masterful tactician” Kenneth Egan in his corner


The teachings of Zaur Antia will be fresh in the mind of Eric Donovan [7(4)-0] this coming Saturday night.

The Athy featherweight takes to the ring, returing from a fractured finger, in one of the headline bouts of the ‘Celtic Clash 6’ card in Dublin with a friend and former team-mate in his corner.

Olympic silver medallist Kenneth Egan, for the second bout in a row, will be the chief seconds for ‘Lilywhite Lightning and the Neilstown legend brings familiarity in his approach.

The pair were two of the originals in the new Irish amateur High Performance Unit back in the early part of the 2000s alongside Andy Lee and were some of the first boxers in the country exposed to the teachings of Georgian maestro Zaur Antia.

Lee would be in the corner for Donovan’s headline appearance in Dublin in December while Egan took up the reigns for a bout in Waterford in February and will continue this weekend in the capital.

Donovan is delighted to have his fellow High Performance graduates as part of his journey and explained to Irish-Boxing.com how “the thing is, most of my boxing and most of my education around boxing has been from the High Performance team and Zaur Antia.”

“But it can be hard for me to apply what I have learnt to myself and I know Kenny and Andy have had the same education so who better to ask to help you out than two other southpaws who have reached the pinnacle of their sport and who have had the same master teacher as me.”

“I’m very lucky to have both of them.”

While Lee won the WBO middleweight world title, Egan never made a real run at the pros – two fundraising fights in Uganda, which form his 1(0)-0-1 professional record, aside.

Donovan, though notes how there is sometimes an overemphasis on the differences between amateur and pro and that Egan is the perfect man to guide him.

The Kildare 32-year-old noted how “Kenny hasn’t had any professional boxing experience, only journeying along with me – but boxing is boxing, people forget that.”

“Boxing is boxing and Kenny is a masterful tactician, very, very clever and he knows the stuff inside out. I’m just delighted to have that.”

“He’s a crafty southpaw as well and there’s a lot of things that he has taught me – along with a lot of things that Andy has taught me and Dom [O’Rourke] has taught me from an early age and, of course, Zaur in the High Performance.”

Donovan certainly has been exposed to a lot of boxing brains over the past 25 years but, even now, he knows the importance of keeping things simple.

The Boxing Ireland fighter described how “I’m lucky that I have all of that there and I take onboard what works for me.”

“I’m very intelligent myself. With boxing, you don’t need twenty or thirty different tactics. If you have three or four good tactics, good movements, they can win a fight for you if you do them well and perfect them.”

Photo Credit: Sharon Flanagan

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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