Eric Donovan targeting new EU champ following hand injury boost


In the past few weeks Eric Donovan had a scare which threatened to stall his career but today finds himself with a clean bill of health and hot on the heels of the new EU champion.

The Kildare featherweight was discovered to have a fractured finger recently but, after consultation with an expert, it was decided that rest rather than surgery and a long rehabilitation was the next course of action.

And so, 32-year-old Donovan [7(4)-0] will now return to the ring on Saturday June 16th as part of ‘Celtic Clash 6’ at Good Counsel GAA in Drimnagh, Dublin, and he and his team are targeting a title shot after this.

Donovan and manager Leonard Gunning were interested observers of the goings on in Bilbao last night. Featuring on the undercard of Bradley Skeete’s European welterweight title knockout loss to Kerman Lejarraga, Andoni Gago [19(6)-3(1)-3] claimed the vacant EBU-EU title with a hard-fought win over previously undefeated Frenchman Geoffrey Dos Santos.

A gruelling fight, the Basque fighter edged the twelve-round affair with scorecards of 116-111, 114-112, and 115-112, with Dos Santos being docked two points late on.

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Donovan claimed the BUI Celtic title last year but has since found it difficult to secure an eligible opponent for an Irish title fight. A step-up to continental level and the EU title, therefore, seems a natural next step and both Donovan and Gunning were outspoken last night on their desire to make a fight with Gago for later this year.

‘Lilywhite Lightning’ currently needs one more fight, his eighth, to be considered for the EBU-EU rankings. Once this is achieved on June 16th his team will push for that and, should he be ranked, he would be one of the few fighters in the ladder actively pursuing the belt.

Manager Gunning, co-promoter of the Celtic Clash series, has stated that he would like for Gago to defend versus Donovan in Ireland but is also open to traveling to the Basque country to challenger.

Donovan himself is more than up for the bout as he nears his third year as a pro and called for the clash on social media.

An experienced campaigner, 32-year-old Gago would be, by far, the toughest test of Donovan’s career. ‘El Macho’ holds a win over current European champion Marc Vidal and, last year, went nine with IBF world champion Lee Selby as well as fighting to a four-round technical draw with former super bantamweight titlist Victor Terrazas.

First though, Donovan must overcome whatever challenge is presented to him on ‘Celtic Clash 6’, a bill which also features John Joyce, Owen Duffy, Keane McMahon, Graham McCormack, and a BUI Celtic super bantamweight title fight between Colin O’Donovan and Carl McDonald, with more to be announced.

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Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie