Since starting in the old 57kg featherweight division, the Rio Olympian has won provincial titles at light welter, welter, and at the weekend added a middleweight crown.
In a close and tough fight in the Ulster Hall in Belfast, Donnelly edged reigning champ Fearghus Quinn of Carnlough.
A high-tempo, close-quarters affair, the Ballymena man landed with the cleaner work to take the decision.
Donnelly moved up in weight after he was eliminated in the opening round of the European Championships during the Summer.
Drained in the 69kg welterweight class, a move north was needed and he explained afterwards how “I’ve after moving up, I’m only weighing in at 72kg, I just can’t make 69kg. I’m feeling strong though without the weight problems.”
“I am only starting, that’s just my second fight back since June, since the Europeans. I am nowhere near producing my best, I know I can do a lot better.”
Analysing the bout, Donnelly admitted that “I should have produced more.”
“I should have boxed him and been calm. I was in there and I knew what he was going to do so I said I am just going to match him here. I didn’t know if I had it in my legs, but I just dug in and dug in and I caught him with the more convincing fights at the end.”
“I may have given him the first round. I hurt him in the second and that won me the round. It was close in the first half, and then I went away with it with smart work.”
“A bit of respect for Fearghus Quinn. Either way he deserves just as much as I do. Big respect to him. He boxed well and it was a very tough fight. I dug in, I had to dig in as you have to do to win your sixth title. I knew I would be up against it. He is a tough lad.”
29 year old Donnelly was in high spirits and described how “I’m just delighted I am very proud of myself and it’s great to be back. I went out with a bang because that is probably the last time I’ll box at the Ulster Hall.”
The 2014 Commonwealth bronze medalist is now targetting the 2018 Games in Australia – which would be his third.
Donnelly outlined how “I will stay on until the Commonwealth Games and we will see what happens.”
“I have been to the Commonwealths before so I know what to expect, but we will see what happens.”
“I’m not happy with a bronze, I should have won gold, I’m more than capable of winning gold. I am far more experienced and I hope to show that in the Commonwealths.”
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)