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Eric Donovan lays out 20/20 vision – but fears he may never fight at home again

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A positive Eric Donovan [11(6)-0] is determined to secure the European featherweight title or a ranking belt in 2020, but laments the fact he may have to achieve that success away from home.

The late to the pro game talent is at a bit of career cross roads, having enjoyed domestic success he is now desperate for a bigger breakthrough.

Without big massive financial backing and the fact he is a high risk low reward kind of opponent makes making that next step up the ladder all the more difficult.

Although Boxing Ireland did secure Donovan national TV in 2019 and he was within a day or two of fighting for the EU title.

Still it’s frustrating for the 34-year-old former Irish amateur international and he has hinted at retiring if he doesn’t have a significantly progressive 12 months.

Outlining what would be successful the Athy man pointed to European victory or a world ranking.

“I want a world ranking title or a European title by the end of 2020,” he told Irish-boxing.com.

Progression toward that European title, which is currently held by Andoni Gago, will be helped if Donovan secures victory on top of Celtic Clash X.

The Kenneth Egan-trained featherweight takes on former Spanish champion Christian Montilla [9(5)-4(3)-1], who drew with former European champion Dennis Ceylan.

If Ceylan could use the Spaniard as a stepping stone to an EBU shot Donovan thinks he can do the same.

“This fight will nudge me in that direction,” he adds before rejoicing in the fact he gets to face an ambitious boxer.

“It will also show another side of my boxing because I haven’t been tested yet and I hope Montilla will change that. He is a good fighter, he is a winner, not a survivor, he comes to win and he has a good boxing brain.”

A win in Belfast will certainly be positive and would be a solid start to the year.

However, there is part of Donovan that regrets he has to do his work outside of that far away from Kildare.

With some Newstalk love of late, a good RTE profile, respect for his work outside of boxing and an Irish title win live on TV in the bank, Donovan looked set to play a big part in rejuvenating boxing outside Belfast.

However, a Dublin show now seems a long way off with promoters bemoaning costs and a lack of willing venues.

It’s something Donovan feels is a massive shame.

“As I reflect on 2019 I have mixed feelings, the positive ones is that I became Irish champion on live TV and that will always be a special moment in our lives. The negative is that it could be also the last time I fight in the Republic of Ireland which is a crying shame. Insurance reasons etc. But I went on the road twice as well and enjoyed those experiences. ”

Donovan hasn’t been quiet about his desire to step up and had offered to fight Ryan Doyle on the November 1 Matchroom card as well as step in for Scott Quigg to fight Jono Carroll in Saudi.

He would have taken an offer to fight Samir Ziani for the European super featherweight title but his ranking doesn’t allow for him to accept that fight.

Cork’s Gary Hyde manages the Frenchman and offered Anthony Cacace a February tilt.

“I would have taken that fight but I’m not in the super featherweight rankings so I don’t qualify for it. But in a heart beat I would have took it. If there is an opportunity for me at super featherweight I’ll take that too. I will fight anyone from 57-59.”


Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com