Tonight Steven Donnelly [5(1)-0] will look to take a major career short-cut in London.
The Ballymena light middleweight boxes in the fifth edition of the Ultimate Boxxer competition at the Indigo in the O2 Arena.
A hot 11/8 favourite to take home top prize – around £16,000 and the ‘Golden Robe’ – Donnelly will need to claim three wins in the eight-man Prizefighter-styled knockout tournament.
Fighting in three three-round fights, the format should suit the Rio Olympian who only turned pro last summer but, as is well known, the condensed style can lead to all manner of surprises and upsets.
Tonight’s tournament will be shown live on BT Sport 2 from 8:00pm and will also be streamed live and free on YouTube [WATCH BELOW].
Donnelly is due to box in the fourth quarter-final versus late replacement Ish O’Connor – and the second semi-final should he make it through.
The 31-year-old’s semi-final opponent would be one of Lewis Syrett and second favourite Sean Robinson while the final would be against any of Kaan Hawes, Kingsley Egbuinike, Lenny Fuller, or Joshua Ejakpovi.
In addition to the stream, Irish-Boxing.com will be posting live updates throughout the night which will appear below.
Keep refreshing page to see live updates.
11:34pm – Steven Donnelly is your Ultimate Boxxer 5 champion. King Donno.
Round 2 – It’s really heating up in the second as Donnelly starts to bully Fuller. The little Englishman has a lot of heart but is taking some massive right hands – He’s out on his feet! – huge shots from Donnelly! TKO2!
Round 1 – Fuller the aggressor to start off but lands little as Donnelly stays out of range, sizing up his opponent. It’s scrappy stuff but Donnelly gets into a groove in the second half, landing some huge right hands that rock Fuller badly. Major moments here.
11:24pm – Shipping Up To Boston rings out, Steven Donnelly is in the ring, we are ready for the final!
11:22pm – Donnelly a far taller fighter but the very short Fuller is an explosive starter. ‘The Donn’ will need to establish his range instantly here and let his pedigree win out.
11:20pm – Steve Bunce dropping some bait for Donnelly backstage regarding the cocky Fuller but the Ulsterman is keeping coy. Should be in the ring in the next five minutes or so.
11:18pm – Marku gets the win and now it’s time for the final!
10:52pm – Albanian ticket-seller (to an insane degree) Florian Marku in the ring now against a fighter familiar to Irish fans – Miroslav Serban. Set for six, Marku is a KO artist so it may not go that long. Ultimate Boxxer final up afterwards.
10:47pm – Bit of a break here as both boxers rest up. It’s certainly advantage Fuller in this respect who had an early KO in the first fight of the night, a long rest, and then the first semi final – whereas Donnelly has had a short gap between quarter four and semi two and now another short gap ahead of the final. Needs to keep the adrenaline pumping.
10:43pm – “There’s loads more to give” promises Steven Donnelly who had to work hard in the final round there. The Irishman has never gone past four rounds but will tonight. Backstage the fearless Lenny Fuller believes he will “edge” this, noting how it was gruelling for Donnelly versus Robinson and how, by comparison, he dominated Ejakpovi – who had a close title fight with Robinson in March. The confident Englishman also promises to drop down two weights after tonight to light welterweight.
10:37pm – Steven Donnelly has made it to the Ultimate Boxxer 5 final – scorecards read 29-28 in his favour with all three judges.
Round 3 – Donnelly playing matador in the final round. Robinson has guts and a big tank, pushing hard but Donnelly is boxing smart and countering well. It’s energy-sapping stuff however as we trade until the final bell. Has to be Donnelly’s fight.
Round 2 – Big bodyshots to start the second from Donnelly. Robinson becoming ragged, hands down, looking to trade with the Ballymena boxer. The Londoner is landing more than in the first but is getting tagged a lot by Donnelly who looks to be on his way to the final.
Round 1 – Donnelly the sharper early on, coming forward and sneaking in bodyshots and nice single punches as Robinson struggles to get to grips with the former top amateur. Donnelly switches southpaw in the final minute, exhibition stuff here at the Indigo.
10:22pm – Donnelly and Robinson in the ring now. Tough fight.
10:16pm – Now for the battle between the two favourites. You’d think it will be something of a chess match but Donnelly [6(2)-0] looked in a destructive mood in the quarters. Robinson [10(0)-0-1] a very different proposition to O’Connor, however.
10:14pm – Scrappier in the third and we go to the cards. Fuller thinks he’s got it – and he does, with scores of 30-26 across the board.
10:08pm – Fuller is landing some big shots and looks to be on his way to the final. Ejakpovi needs something special in the third round.
10:05pm – The aggressive Fuller landing the better shots early on, getting inside on Ejakpovi who is struggling and, caught off balance in the closing seconds, a cuffing shot sends him down and a knockdown is ruled.
9:57pm – Time for semi-final #1.
9:52pm – Steven Donnelly backstage chatting to Steve Bunce ahead of the semis. Promises that he will be “too smart” and knows what he has to do to beat Sean Robinson. Can be noted that he has kept his gloves on between fights unlike some of the other competitors. Removing the gloves was a problem for Luke Keeler when he entered Prizefighter, with his hands swelling up once the gloves and wraps were off.
9:49pm – Undercard bout out of the way, time for the first semi-final – Lenny Fuller [7(1)-0] v Joshua Ejakpovi [13(3)-1(0)]. Fuller scored a record-quick KO in the quarters while rangy southpaw Ejakpovi looked awkward and dangerous.
9:27pm – An undercard bout here as the fighters catch their breath. While we wait, got some interesting info from one of our followers on Twitter about Donnelly’s upcoming London-born opponent.
Sean Robinson’s Nan from Kerry and Grandad from Cavan Sean’s a really nice lad
— kevin smith (@smithfit47) September 20, 2019
9:20pm – Donnelly, in his post-fight interviews, says how he “had to go in for the kill” but still be careful considering the format. Will be fighting in the second semi. Lenny Fuller v Joshua Ejakpovi first.
9:16pm – And it’s on to the semis and Sean Robinson for Steven Donnelly. Amir Khan, Dave Coldwell, and Anthony Crolla in punditry are singing the Antrim boxer’s praises. The business end of things starts now.
— Ultimate Boxxer (@ultimateboxxer) September 20, 2019
Round 1 – O’Connor down in the opening seconds from his own momentum after swinging wildly. Donnelly taking things slowly, working off the jab before he sends O’Connor down with a left hook to the body! O’Connor rises just about but Donnelly is back in again with another body shot, a quarter-uppercut to the ribs! O’Connor down again and somehow beats the count before coming back with a big right hand of his own. The brave but exhausted Ipswich boxer though can’t make it through the round as another left, a jab to the chest, sends him down and he is counted out. KO 1 STEVEN DONNELLY.
9:11pm – Gerard McManus, Paddy Gallagher, and Andy O’Neill in the corner for Donnelly who looks confident. Here we go!
9:09pm – It’s time for Steven Donnelly’s first fight in Ultimate Boxxer 5. In the ring and ready to go.
9:06pm – Robinson says he expects to face Donnelly in the semis. Needs to get through this fight with O’Connor safely without getting cut or expending too much energy.
9:04pm – Next up, at last, it’s time for ‘The Donn’. Up against former unlicensed fighter Ish O’Connor [2(0)-0], a late replacement, Donnelly [5(1)-0] will look to ease his way in to set up a semi final with the impressive Sean Robinson.
9:02pm – Robinson is a tidy little boxer and has Syrett buzzed in the third as he rounds off the win.
8:57pm – Robinson is cruising here. The man to beat for Donnelly, as expected.
8:53pm – Robinson picking some nice punches in the first. Has sparred Syrett plenty and seems to have the measure of him.
8:50pm – Underway in the third semi. Robinson, who beat Ejakpovi to win the Southern Area title, on paper, will have too much for southpaw Syrett.
8:44pm – After the break it will be the third quarter with Southern Area champion Sean Robinson [9(0)-0-1] fighting Lewis Syrett [6(2)-0]. The winner faces the winner of Donnelly’s quarter.
8:41pm – Ejakpovi definitely could be a player in this tournament. Long southpaw and should have enough to beat Fuller in the semis.
8:37pm – Badly bloodied and badly outclassed, Hawes pushes but can’t land much on Ejakpovi who sails into the semis.
8:33pm – Down goes Hawes again in the second from yet another straight left hand. It’s one-way traffic here.
8:29pm – Southpaw Ejakpovi is dominating here. Has Hawes down in the first round, can’t miss with the straight left hand.
8:26pm – Here we go with the second quarter. Also, it’s Irish MC Terry Kavanagh on the mic here in London.
8:20pm – Quarter-final two has Kaan Hawes [5(0)-1(0)-1] in against Joshua Ejakpovi [12(3)-1(0)] and will be up in the next few minutes.
8:16pm – Wow! Lenny Fuller has Egbunike down almost instantly with an overhand right before having him out on his feet and stopped standing. First round stoppage! Boom.
Lenny Fuller stops his Egbunike in 30 seconds of the first fight!
— Boxing on BT Sport (@BTSportBoxing) September 20, 2019
8:15pm – First up is Lenny Fuller [6(0)-0] v Kingsley Egbunike [4(1)-0].
7:55pm – The broadcast is about to begin and we are ready. The action is expected to start swiftly but it could be closer to 9:00pm before ‘The Donn’ gets into the ring for his first fight. Donnelly, who is now training with Gerard McManus and Dan Anderson looked in sensational shape at the weigh-in yesterday, scaling 155lbs. O’Connor would come in heavy at 156.33lbs but the smaller man was made shed his excess and weigh in a second time following the head-to-head.