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Low Blows: Lilywhite Lightning Eric Donovan

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Whether they’re a trash-talker or a silent killer, we give Irish boxers the chance to aim some verbal volleys at their fellow fighters every Wednesday with ‘Low Blows.’

This week it is the turn of ‘Lilywhite Lightning’ Eric Donovan [1(1)-0] who recalls his time in the Irish High Performance Unit. Donovan fights on Saturday night at the National Stadium on the Red Corner Promotions card

Q: Hardest Trainer?
A: I think it’s only fair that I bring in some of the guys who were on the team when I first arrived. Some of these guys have been there at the beginning of the High Performance Programme and we don’t hear too much about them these days. Andrew Murray from Cavan, former Irish champ and by God he used to train like hell (at a time when nutrition advice wasn’t very accessible) simply because he had to take off serious weight. However Katie Taylor and Jason Quigley were, and still are, model professional athletes. Never an issue, just 100% commitment.

Q: Biggest Moaner?
A: Conor Ahern used to moan a lot and call Billy [Walsh] a few unsavoury names but all in good spirit, Conor just wouldn’t back down from anyone. He always got on with it though! Con Sheehan liked to give out and moan too.

Q: Funniest?
A: I’d have to give it to Roy Sheahan, never ever a wrong time for Roy to start a giggle. He seems to always find the most serious and important of team meetings to start this nonsense!

Q: Biggest Ladies’ Man?
A: I know he’s a happy man now and doing a fantastic job as a dad and soon to be husband but Ken Egan would have to take that one! He’s got a book to prove it!

Q: Most Intelligent?
A: There are a lot of intelligent boxers on the high performance team in their own unique way. Darren O’Neill is a qualified teacher, Adam Nolan is a guard, Katie Taylor was studying Irish I remember, Sean McComb is fluent in Irish, Ryan Lindberg is a computer wizard, Andy Lee reads a lot, Cathal McMonagle is a smart fellow, myself and Ken are qualified counsellors.

Q: Least Intelligent?
A: I think that would be a great insult to say someone was the least intelligent, I know this is called Low Blows, but how could I say that to [blank]? No chance, [blank] would never get over it!

Q: Hardest Puncher?
A: Andy Lee, Darren O’Nell & Phil Sutcliffe
– it’s a toss up, they could all knock you out, but I saw O’Neill knocking out a super-heavyweight when he was only a middleweight. I call him farmer’s hands!

Q: Most Naturally Talented?
A: I’d have to say Mick Conlan because of his versatile boxing stance (southpaw and orthodox) that’s unique and you’d have to be unbelievably talented to do that at the highest level.

Q: Cheapeast?
A: Poor old Darren Sutherland, God be good to him. We all had a day off at training camp in Germany and walked 15 minutes from the camp to get the train into the city for a few hours. So when Darren realised the train was €7 or €8 he decided to turn back and stay at the camp. He was perhaps clever in that respect because he just didn’t want to spend money unless he absolutely needed to.

Q: Worst Dancer?
A: That’s probably Alan Reynolds, I remember been at a tournament in Denmark with him in and he just used to wear a tank top on the dance floor and flex this guns… Mighty guns too mind you.

Q: Worst Dress Sense?
A: Well JJ Nevin would have the bottoms of his jeans tucked into his socks… Come on, seriously?

Q: Biggest Messer?
A: Roy Sheahan was and still is a serious messer. I think it’s got to do with the amount of sweets and fizzy drinks he consumes. When all his victims were fast asleep in camp, he’d have to laugh himself and his high sugar levels off to sleep.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie