Eric Donovan makes passionate plea for ‘big fights’

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Eric Donovan [12(7)-0] was calm, calculated and clinical when taking out Joseafat Reyes [8(2)-12(1)-1] in Belfast on Saturday night, but showed plenty of emotion when talking to post the win.

It wasn’t quite a slipping of the guard from the always media savvy and media friendly fighter but he did get passionate when discussing his next clash.

The Kildare favourite has won the Irish title, fought on TV and is gathering serious momentum even after an injured plagued year looked to have cost him.

However, being 34 doesn’t allow him to be too patient and he now wants his chance to register at the very least jump the que fast track win.

When asked about the next move in the dressing room after the fight, Donovan began to reveal he has yet to feel tested as a pro and called for a big fight.

“I think it’s a bit of statement. I am 12-0 with 7 ko’s and I still haven’t been test. I really haven’t been tested in this pro games. Give me someone who cant test me,” Donovan began with the levels of passion increasing at a slow and steady pace.

“He isn’t a bad opponent I think he took a round of Ryan [Burnett] and also beat an 11-0 and 10-0 guy, but he didn’t test me tonight.

“I had him in the palm of my hand from early on. I want big fights and it will be an awful shame if I don’t get them. It will be an absolute shame and you know that.” ” he adds

Things may not be moving at the pace the Kenneth Egan trained talent wants, but Donovan, who has promised to retire if significant progress isn’t made this year, seems to feel some form of upgrade en route, while at the same time understanding the plight of Irish fighters outside of Belfast not signed to big TV aligned promoters.

He bats back going the call out route suggestions so strong he hits a six, but is adamant he would fight any feather or super featherweight in the world.

“I don’t feel like I need to call people out, but I’d fight any featherweight or super featherweight in the world and that’s not talk or me being big headed. I am telling you I’d fight them.”

With a little more time to think Donovan then explains progress has been made and suggests he isn’t in to bad a position for a fighter with a dozen fights.

However, the late to the game pro he also knows he needs to be fast tracked and as he puts it, he needs Boxing Ireland to ‘take a gamble on him’.

“I am in a pool of potential champions or stepping stones for boxers at either weight that can be considered a test for someone.

“I can step in to help a show or be a chief support. I am a credible opponent now. I know [Leonard Gunning] is getting phone calls every now and then. There was one that came from Germany a while ago, but it came at the wrong time. So we are getting there, but I want it now, I want big fights. He has to take a gamble on me.”

When reflecting on a performance that proved he is ready for the big fights he wants not to mention deserving of a spotlight fight, Donovan explained it came about because he has fully transitioned to the pro game.

Quite articulately he points out how he has managed to find calm in what he calls the ‘chaos pocket’ and that enabled him to break down a fighter renowned for his toughness.

“I felt like it was one of more impress performances. I feel like I am a lot more comfortable in the chaos,” he begins to explain before adding some visual adds.

“I am able to get close, like this, let the big shots go and not worry about whats coming back. I actually feel calm in that chaos. I was able to step in, see whats coming, make a decision of that and let rip. You seen I was in there catching shots like this, content in there and at that range and then bam, bam, bam.

“Before I would have been too amateurish, I’d jump back to far. I’d see my opponent flinch and jump back to far. Now I am happy taking his shots on the arms. That is being in the pocket which is a crazy chaos area and in there I can be calm emotionally. I think that there is massive improvement.”

When pushed on how he managed to become the first man to stop Reyes he continued in pundit mode and educated the four people in the dressing room.

“I am landing more and landing harder punches too. I still am very speed orientated, but when I slow down that speed a little I am still faster than most fast boxers. But when I do slow it down and be a bit more calculated I can drive in the shots. That is what done him in the end. For six rounds I hit him with everything, he took everything. So in the seventh it was slow down and focus on single shots with a bit more on the punches. Although I finished the fight by jumping on him it was two big shots that allowed me to do that. I fainted and landed a right hook, then fainted and landed a left hook. “


Jonny Stapleton contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 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: