‘The Firecracker’ returns to the ring on Saturday December 2nd in Dublin looking to round off a topsy-turvy first year as a pro and set up a massive 2018.
McDonagh impressed on his professional debut back in September on the big ‘Celtic Clash 3’ card at the National Stadium, dominating against Georgi Andonov, and will return to the same venue for fight number two. He features on the ‘Celtic Clash 4’ bill on the South Circular Road with former top amateur and RTÉ pundit Eric Donovan headlining in a defence of his BUI Celtic featherweight title against Juancho Gonzalez, while there is also Dublin grudge match between Jay Byrne and Crank Whitehouse for the BUI Celtic welterweight belt.
Expect a different performance from the Westside fighter this time round, a stand-out performance
“You have to try steal the show, you want people to start talking about you,” McDonagh told Irish-Boxing.com before reflecting on his debut win.
“I felt like there was so much pressure so just to get that out of the way, what with the last show being cancelled. It was like a world title for me. There was so much pressure and I was always telling myself ‘it’s not about the performance, it’s just about getting the win.’ Now I’m going to enjoy myself and show what I’m made of.”
A bit more experienced than most one-fight novices, McDonagh has learnt plenty in the pro game already, from fight cancellations to Eastern European spoilers.
The Tallaght boxer described how “somebody asked me, ‘what do you find different about the pro game?’ It’s the holding part, that’s what I found, spoiling your work. They’re coming to survive, they’re coming to spoil the show. I need to be smart now, I’m more open to it, I’ve seen it and now I’ll be ready for it if this guy comes to [hold] – I’ll sit back and be ready for that.”
Between his age and his general outlook, McDonagh wants to move past these sorts of fights as soon as possible, and has one eye on domestic clashes in 2018. On the previous Celtic Clash card an early-career showdown between McDonagh’s sparring partner Regan Buckley and his former opponent and fellow Jobstown native Carl McDonald played chief support. Both these fighters are possibilities in future.
McDonagh is open to fights with his local rivals and outlined how “I think the bantamweights are an exciting weight. I’ll fight anybody, it’d just be another fight for me. I’ve been sparring Regan loads of times, if that happens down the road, it happens, no problem. I fought Carl in the Intermediates in 2015, I lost by split decision. You always have that in the back of your head – but Carl’s cool, he’s on his own journey, Regan’s on his own journey, if we meet in 2018, so be it. We’ll see what happens. 2018, I’m hoping, I get a title fight, a BUI Celtic title or something like that. We’re pushing toward that now.”
First thing’s first though and McDonagh must negotiate his fight next month against a soon to-be-confirmed opponent, and the Dubliner is aiming to show off his power.
Against Andonov in the debut it was his eye-catching workrate, but McDonagh reveals that he also has a thump to go with the tank.
“Camp is going great,” he said. “It’s going a little bit better than the last time. I’m doing a lot of strength and conditioning, building up the power. I know, and I’ve been told a million times, I hit seriously hard for a bantamweight,” explained McDonagh. “Even in sparring, sparring boys through the years, I’ve been told. I’m in Ironhouse Gym in Clondalkin and they have me in serious shape, the difference from the last show to this show will be unbelievable. It’s about now sitting down on the shots and picking the right shots.”
McDonagh is sponsored by Lynk Taxi, COPD, McGuire Air Conditioning, Genesis Labs, and Donore Meats, and he notes how “there’s a few local companies looking after me, it’s great. There’s a few more people asking about me, wanting to go to the show after seeing how good the last one was – and this show here looks like an even better one with the fighters on it and the two title fights, there’s going to be some good scraps.”
Celtic Clash 4 also features Bernard Roe, John Joyce, Graham O’Shea McCormack, Colin O’Donovan, Vladimir Belujsky, James Cahill, Regan Buckley, Stephen McAfee, Martin Quinn, Thomas Finnegan, and Niall O’Connor.
Tickets for the show cost €30 (Balcony), €40 (Gallery), €60 (Ringside), €100 (VIP Premium), and €15 (Under-15s gallery – must be bought alongside an adult ticket) and are available to buy from Dylan by calling 085 772 1209 or online at Ticketmaster.ie.
Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)