Eric Donovan opponent wants to win Irish hearts and EU title

Khalil El Hadri [13(7)-1(0)] is hoping to win the hearts of Irish fight fans as well as the EU super featherweight title in Belfast tomorrow night.

The former French champion fights  Eric Donovan [15(8)-2(2)] for the continental title at the Europa Hotel on Saturday, and has his eyes on winning more than just the career-changing strap.

The 27-year-old Les Mureaux native has massive respect for Ireland’s pugilist history and it would mean a lot to him to get a nod of approval from the fight fans in attendance and those watching via TG4.

“It’s important for me to mark the spirit of the Irish people,” says.

“They are a true boxing nation. If they appreciate me it’s beautiful. It means my boxing can appeal to everyone. I don’t speak English, my boxing will do the talking. I’ll speak their language in the ring. I want to show my potential and touch a nation that isn’t France. I hope I will conquer their hearts.”

Irish fight fans would warm to the French man if he put gallant performance without defeating the home favourite – but that’s not the plan.

The 27-year-old is desperate to win the EU crown.

“This is the most important fight of my career. I can’t fail on this one,” he adds.

“This is my first shot at an international belt. I’ve trained like crazy. We are going there very confident. It’s great to show it in the gym but you have to show it in the ring and hopefully, the 24th will be my day. I’ve never done preparation like this. We have worked on things I’m not used to. I’m stronger and I’m hitting harder.”

While he is keen to impress Irish fight followers, Donovan’s opponent for the vacant strap wants to stick two fingers up to some fight followers back home.

The Parisian says he acquired plenty of doubters post a French title fight defeat to Anthony Riviere last years, doubters he is determined to prove wrong.

“After my defeat for the French National title many people stopped believing in me. I’m going to prove them wrong they will see they should have believed in me,” he points out before revealing he has used that reverse as motivation to power forward.

“I’m glad I lost my French title because it gave me incredible strength. I’m really happy and I thank God.”


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years