Eric Donovan is determined to light the fuse to a big bang career finish tonight.
Having hung up his vest and gloves at the age of 28, the now-35-year-old came back to boxing at 31 looking to ensure he didn’t have to live his life with regret or wondering what might have been achieved.
Despite achieving his initial Irish title goal, the former amateur standout did endure some turbulent professional times. His aspirations grew, but he didn’t have the kind of big promotional backing to match them.
That changed when Matchroom offered Donovan the chance to fight Zelfa Barrett live on Sky Sports and DAZN tonight – and the Kildare native can now raise his profile and ranking if he secures an underdog win.
The St Michael’s Athy graduate now feels he has the chance to go out ‘with a bang’, but is confident that explosion won’t resonate tonight – rather he is confident he can secure the kind of victory that will allow him to finish a long eventful boxing innings with some massive noise making fights.
“I have an opportunity to salvage a career. To make something of my career. To go out and finish off my boxing journey with a bang. To finally say I’ve done it my way,” he said this week.
The 2009 and 2010 continental [EU and European] bronze medal winner knows he faces a step up, but anyone who has followed his career will understand he sees that as a massive positive. Donovan has suffered the negative effects of bring high-risk low-reward and now gets the chance he has craved.
“I’m absolutely delighted to be here and I’m very grateful for the opportunity. I think in life if you want to be successful, no matter what, you have to take risks. You also have to be able to back it up. You have to be good enough and you have to prepare well.”
“When this opportunity was presented to me, I knew that chances and opportunities for me are few and fare between.”
‘Lilywhite Lightning’ also rejoices in the threat in front of him for other reasons. The respected RTÉ boxing pundit believes tonight represents his first test and is confident the threat posed by the star in the making can only raise his performance levels.
“I don’t believe I’ve been tested truly,” admitted Donovan.
“I don’t believe my character has been tested, I don’t believe my mental or physical ability has been tested to the maximum. You need that stress in front of you. You need that threat of someone trying to take your head off.”
“If I don’t perform to the best of my ability, then Zelfa Barrett will beat me. That’s why I’m up for this fight and that’s why I know you’re going to see the best Eric Donovan on August 14th,” he adds before revealing why he feels he got a chance on a Matchroom show.
“Nobody has the balls to fight Zelfa at super featherweight in Britain. So when Mark put it to me I said, ‘yes Mark, I’ll step up to it and I’ll take that because I see an opportunity’.”
“If I can perform to the best of my ability on Friday night I think I can do enough to win. I can see holes in Zelfa Barrett that I can exploit.”
“Destiny awaits me on August 14th.”