Kieran Molloy believes levels showed against Paddy Donovan


Paddy Donovan learnt what it’s like to fight a ‘world class’ Elite boxer, not just a senior operator on Saturday night claims Irish Elite champion Kieran Molloy.

Molloy claimed an unanimous points over the Limerick fighter in the most eagerly anticipated Senior final in recent years and, after coming out of a quality-packed welterweight decider on top, he took time fire back at some of Donovan’s pre-fight jibes.

While it didn’t appear over-arrogant, Donovan, speaking in a confident manner that for some reason in boxing always seems to come hand in hand with an elusive skilful style, did claim he had the harder route to Saturday’s final and was predicting victory.

READ: Donovan ready for Elite success after coming through ‘tougher side’

Molloy, on the other hand, stayed quiet in the build up and, after feeling he did his talking in the ring to take a second successive crown, he did finally hit back.

“It was a world class performance, thank God. I saved the best one until last,” the Galway talent said after the bout before rounding on Donovan.

“I wasn’t nervous going into and the talk didn’t bother me. He has a great tongue, but he has never fought anyone of my calibre. I think he was talking himself up too much and people were too.”

“He’d never fought anyone like me before. He was doing well against young lads, this is a different level. I think I showed the difference between being a senior fighter and an elite fighter tonight,” he continued before addressing ‘the easy route’ question posed by his opponent in the build-up.

“If you watch his Under-22 final he just about beat Aaron Daly and, no disrespect to Aaron Daly, but I completely out boxed him in the quarter-finals.”

“You can’t afford to have an off day at these Elites. You have to go in like every fight is a final and I did that.”

“I think it was disrespectful of him to say,” admits the powerful Oughterard 20-year-old. “His route wasn’t any harder than mine. Neither of his fights were tough, so we were both fresh coming into the final and the better man won on the night.”

Such was the needle, the quality of the fight, and indeed the performances of the southpaws that, if both are to stay amateur, Irish boxing could have a classic Connacht-Munster rivalry on its hands moving forward.

Yet Molloy now has other fish to fry. The Western puncher will return to the international stage having won Saturday’s decider and will set about qualifying Tokyo 2020.

The EU bronze medallist has the European Games and World Championships on the agenda, both of which may be Olympic qualifiers and he could have a spot on the plane to the Far East booked before the next Seniors rolls around.

Molloy is quietly confident and noted how “last year I had 15 international bouts against European, World and Olympic medallists. I built a solid platform and learnt a lot. I am looking forward showing that international experience this year and hopefully qualifying for Olympics at the end of the year.

“For the time being I am just focused on one tournament at a time. I got to work on improving and making sure I am an elite boxer on the world stage.”

The fighter, who sparred Wayne Kelly and Michael Nevin in the lead up to his final, created a little piece of history on Saturday when he became the first Galway puncher to win back-to-back National Elite titles.

However, in typically unassuming fashion, the Oughterard youngster was keen to point out the success of his fellow Tribesman rather than bask in his own personal achievement.

“I feel really proud of that and I am proud of the lads too. Tonight we have four Galway champions, which is unheard of. It’s great we all train together, they are great lads and there is a bright future for everyone.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

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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 sport for a living for 19 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