FeaturesHeadline NewsLow Blows

Low Blows: Steven Donnelly

Ballymena welterweight Steven Donnelly is in the hotseat for this week in the Low Blows, and the Rio Olympian had no trouble dishing the dirt on his Irish team mates. There might be a few tasty spars in the High Performance Unit after this!

Q: Hardest Trainer?
Theres a few that fit this, like Eamonn O’Kane, he was a beast. Paddy Barnes trains hard too and Mick Conlan is up there too. I would vote myself, but that’s not on! After a hard sparring session Mick would always do that bit extra on pads with Zaur or John and it pays off.

Q: Biggest Moaner?
I’d have to say Paddy Barnes, but I don’t blame him. If I had to lose the weight he loses then I’d have given up a long time ago! He gets narky at times and what he says he goes. He could be doing pads and in the middle of it all just take off his gloves and say ‘f*ck it’ – although it depends who he’s on pads with! If you lived in sweat gear you’d be a real moaner too.

Q: Funniest?
The funniest person I’ve been around is Roy Sheehan. We were on a trip in Canada years ago and it was brilliant. You would just look at Roy and laugh. Just flicking your ears when your not expecting it and stuff like that. He’s a legend.

Q: Biggest Ladies Man?
I’m gonna say Big Breakfast aka Dean Gardiner. He’s some man for the women. I’ll not say where and when, but he was out womanising one night and came back to the room with a kebab and a can of coke at midnight. I’m trying to sleep, all the lights off, and he cracks open the can and downs it, full of sugar too, but no, he’s out like a light two minutes later.

Q: Most Intelligent?
Jeez it would be hard to pick from our team now! I’d have to go back to the 2010 Commonwealth Games in India. Mark O’Hara of Holy Trinity, he was smart. From the Malone Road too so that says it all. Even the way he speaks you could just tell he was a mummy’s boy!

Q: Least Intelligent?
That goes to myself probably. I did well at school, good grades, you name it, but when it comes to remembering things I’m lost. I need things written down to make life a lot easier. Just here in Azerbaijan I was getting physio two days ago, but then the next day I went to the wrong room. Little things like that – But there’s a few more just as bad.

Q: Hardest Puncher?
Well I’ve been in with a few. Cacace, Custio Clayton the Canadian, Tom Stalker, David Oliver Joyce, but the hardest would have to be an American called Pedro Sosa. He hurt me in first round, dropped me to one knee at a stage, then I came back and he never touched me for the next two rounds. Great fight, but boy he could he punch. Sosa was in a bad car crash a year or so later and was close to death. I haven’t heard of him since but at that time he was the name they were talkin about [Sosa was about to sign a huge deal with Golden Boy before the crash].

Q: Most Naturally Talented?
That has to go to Michael O’Reilly or Joe Ward. They will tell you themselves that they don’t really go into beast-mode when they train like most of us, but they seem to do the business everywhere they go just controlling the pace. I’m different, I have to be in tip-top shape when I fight. I’d never go into a fight knowing I’ve not pushed it to the limit.

Q: Cheapest?
A: Connor Coyle
comes to mind. We were at Jordanstown for a camp before the 2014 Commonwealth Games and he drove his car up from Derry. It was a red Merc but it was a banger. He thought he was Floyd Mayweather in it too! We got in it to drive about 500 meters around the corner to the gym and he was asking us all for petrol money!

Q: Worst dancer?
I can only go by this camp here in Azerbaijan. I’ve seen a few Snapchats of Deano Walsh trying to ‘dance’ in his room. He’s not right in the head is all I’ll say. John Conlan had a silly attempt at dancing earlier before our first session here and he’s just not cut out for it.

Q: Worst Dress Sense?
Hard to tell, but the first one to come to mind is Paddy Barnes again. He had these black shoes at the Stadium one week. They were Dolce and Gabbana and all, but to be honest I wouldn’t take my dog for a walk in them/

Q: Biggest Messer?
A couple spring to mind. Sean McComb is the messer of the team now, it’s hard to stop them Belfast boys talking at times. Roy Sheehan is probably the king of it and all the team would agree. Locally for me, at my boxing club All Saints would be Vinney Esler. He’s mad as a hatter and good craic to be around. Talented as well just never got the break I feel he needed.

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