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‘He has to make a statement’ – Zelfa Barrett believes pressure is on Eric Donovan

Zelfa Barrett [23(14)-1(0)] will attempt to successfully take step one along the path to becoming Manchester’s next star on August 14, but claims the pressure to perform is on his opponent.

The Commonwealth champion says at 35 years of age Eric Donovan [12(7)-0] needs to make a statement and impress when they trade leather live on Sky and DAZN.

The Commonwealth champion, who fights for the first time as a signed Matchroom fighter on the Fight Camp card, suggests it’s now or never for the Irish featherweight title holder.

As a result he expects a fired up and focused Kildare puncher in front of him in Eddie Hearn’s back garden next month.

“He is going to be 35 in July, so time is not on his hands. He is going to have to come out and make a statement, all guns blazing, he’s got to. That’s what we are expecting, nothing less,” said Barrett.

Barrett also seems to believe if he isn’t well prepared the Athy southpaw has statement making capabilities.

The 26-year-old Manchester native has done his Donovan homework and has massive respect for the popular fighter, mental health advocate and pundit.

The fighter, whose sole career defeat came against Ronnie Clarke, a Scot with Belfast connections, is expecting a test at the very least.

“I know he is a good fighter. I know he has a great great amateur pedigree.n He has beat all the people that he should be beating in his professional career.

“I know he has good backing, I know he is versatile, I know he can come out different ways when he fights. Credit to the guy I respect him. I respect him as a guy and I respect him as a person. On paper this guy is a good fighter, undefeated, decent KO ratio, good amateur background so it’s a good fight.”

Donvan and Barrett’s clash is one of three Irish interest bouts to play out on Sky over August.

James Tennyson challenges for the vacant British lightweight title on August 1.

Katie Taylor fights on an pay per view card come August 22.

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com