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Eric Donovan Retires from boxing

Eric Donovan has retired from boxing.

After 30 years of punching the Kildare favourite hung up his gloves at the age of 37.

Donovan goes out on top having scaled his personal Everest to win the EU European super featherweight title last month.

The former St Michaels Athy BC amateur announced his decision online on Friday evening.

Donovan was last seen in the ring in a Fight of the Year contender with France’s Khalil El Hadri in September. Victory saw him claim continental honours and rejoice in a “crowning moment” live on TG4.

It was believed he would pursue a mandatory defence in Kildare and say goodbye with a homecoming. However, the EBU ordered a rematch and team El Hadri won purse bids, meaning if Donovan was to defend the strap he would most likely have to do so in France, something which obviously made it easier to take the retirement route.

Donovan was a stand-out amateur, winning five National Elite Championships as well as European Championships and European Union bronze.

The talented southpaw felt he didn’t fulfill his potential in the vest and came back to boxing with a ‘redemption’ remit when he entered the pro ranks post-turning 30.

The former Boxing Ireland and now former MHD guided fighter won the BUI Celtic and the Irish title at featherweight with wins over Welsh Champion Dai Davies and Stephen McAfee respectively, he threatened to upset Zelfa Barrett live on DAZN and fought two time Olympic gold medal winner Robeisy Ramírez live on Sky, before going on to win the EU title on TG4.

Donovan also had a huge impact outside the ring, proving a wonderful ambassador during troubled times for the sport and regularly shining a positive light on all things fight game. He also courted mainstream media attention and brought TG4 back ringside and reignited their interest in broadcasting the sport.

We here at Irish-boxing.com would like to thank Eric for all the access and entertainment over the years. We wish him well in retirement.

A statement released online read:

After a lot of consideration and discussion with my family and team, I’ve decided to hang up the gloves. Some of the best experiences and memories of my life have come from boxing. Now after 30 years in the game, I am finally content with my achievements inside the ring.

Thanks to St. Michael’s Boxing Club Athy and all the coaches & boxers who represented the club and helped me out over the years, especially Dom O’Rourke, who was a great coach/mentor and never gave up on me.

My professional career was one of redemption, with the EU European Title being my crowning moment and a night I’ll never forget. So many people helped me along the way, coaches, cut-men, sparring partners, professional support personnel, sponsors and all my supporters. Whether it was for one fight or for several, I will be forever grateful for your support and could not have done it without your help.

I will personally thank each and every one of you over the next couple of days/weeks, but a special mention goes to Mark Dunlop, Packie Collins, Kenneth Egan and Leonard Gunning. They put in the hard yards with me and I am very thankful for their time and contribution over my professional career.

My wife, Laura and kids, Jack, Troy & Saoirse are my motivation and inspiration. My wife has been an absolute source of strength, who kept me going during difficult times when I felt like giving up. I’m looking forward to spending more quality time with them.

The higher you build your barriers, the taller I become. Something inside so strong 🙏

Looking forward to the next chapters.

Lilywhite Lightning


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years