ADAM Nolan has to be deemed favourite to claim the National Elite Welterweight glory this year claims the man who beat him last years 69 kg decider, Steven Donnelly.
A gutted Donnelly had to withdraw from this years Seniors, and is leaning toward Katie Taylor’s club mate when it comes to predicting a successor in his absence.
However, the Ballymena man stresses the 69kg division is always the most keenly contested weight class and as a result remains the hardest to call. Indeed, he believes another former foe John Joe Joyce might have a major say in were the title goes.
“There is always a lot of good lads at 69. It is the hardest weight of them all and I would say along with 64 its always the hardest to win. In saying that I think you would have to go with Nolan to win because of his all the experience he has, but don’t be surprised if there is an upset. Joyce is there again and has the ability to win. Personally I would like to see him win it he is a sound lad and we’ve crossed swords four times,” Donnelly told Irish-boxing.com.
Donnelly isn’t too happy about having to turn from participant to pundit ahead the blue ribbon tournament, but has been forced out through injury. The Commonwealth medal winner is a proud Irish champion and knows all to well the power of a Senior win. Indeed he stresses winning last season’s Senior installment changed his career.
“I am very disappointed to be missing out this year. There is nothing i wanted more than to defend my title. I have 100% belief I would emerged from a tough division as champion again as I am a completely different and much improved fighter than I was a year ago,” he added before expanding.
“Winning the seniors last year was vital in terms of my career. It got me onto the High Performance where i improved week by week. I also got valuable experience in overseas competitions, plus It got me the recognition I deserved.”