By IABA Press Officer Bernard O’Neill
Eric Donovan has confirmed that he will sit out the National Elite Championships, a tournament he has graced in three separate weight class over the last twelve years.
The five-time Elite champion picked up a rib injury in sparring recently and will not compete in the 2015 edition of the blue riband tournament of Irish boxing.
“One tap on it (the injury) and the wind would be blown clean out of my sails,” admitted the St Michael’s Athy man, and ex AIBA World top ten ranked lightweight.
Donovan, who claimed European Elite bronze for Ireland in 2010 – he lost out to Russia’s eventual gold medallist Albert Selimov in the semi-finals at the Ice Palace in Moscow – has reached six Elite finals since 2003.
He won five of those deciders in three different weight classes.
In 2003, he lost to Brian Gillen in his first Elite bout, but later that year he beat Gillen – the “2004” Elite Championships were actually held in December 2003 to facilitate the Irish team going forward to the Olympic qualifiers, but current WBO World champion Andy Lee was the only Irish to qualify for Athens 2004 – in the bantamweight final.
Donovan has also won Irish Elite belts at featherweight (57kg) and lightweight (60kg).
“Obviously, I’m disappointed, I wanted to box, but circumstances haven’t gone my way and I have to accept the situation,” added the 2009 European Union Elite bronze medallist, who has beaten Italy’s former AIBA World Elite champion Domenico Valentino in the past.
The Elite Championships begin on Friday night at the National Stadium in Dublin. Please see below attachments for entries and circular. The entries will be updated later today.
Five-time AIBA World Elite champion Katie Taylor has entered in the lightweight class, while Darren O’Neill, who captained Team Ireland at the London Olympics, has moved up to heavyweight.
The lightweight and light-heavy titles are vacant this year as 2014 lightweight and light-heavyweight champions David Oliver Joyce and Joe Ward have signed with AIBA Pro Boxing (APB).