Steven Donnelly’s Ultimate Boxxer success was celebrated far and wide while being greeted with great fanfare.
However, not long after ‘The Donn’ was draped in the golden robe, had posed with a £16,000 cheque, and dusted the golden confetti from his hair, he was promising future success.
The Rio Olympian had no issue basking in the best night of his short pro career, but was keen to point out Friday’s success was only the start of the good times.
The Ultimate Boxxer 5 winner wants to use the success as a platform to kick on and predicts some bigger nights ahead.
Before the quickfire Prizefighter-style tournament gloved off, the 31-year-old was predicting victory would set up fights with British-level light middles like Scott Fitzgerald, Ted Cheesman and Anthony Fowler.
Post the win he warned: “I’m only young so there’s still so much more to come from me.”
While he was keen to let people know he is still full ambition he was happy enough to reflect on a sensational night.
The first Olympian to compete in the tournament, levels showed in the English capital as Donnelly crushed three unbeaten opponents.
Quarter-final foe Ish O’Connor, a raw 2-0 late replacement was sent down thrice with lefts to the body in the opening round – as well as once by his own momentum – as Donnelly [8(3)-0] got off to the perfect start.
Luck of the draw meant reigning Southern Area champ Sean Robinson was up next and Donnelly would thoroughly outbox the Londoner in the opening two rounds before battling through a turgid third to make it to the final.
Emerging a 29-28 x3 unanimous decision winner, Donnelly set up a final with Lenny Fuller and would promptly destroy the squat Englishman.
Finding his range with right hands towards the end of the first, Donnelly had Fuller out on his feet in the second and, with huge shots raining in, the bout was waved off to hand the double Commonwealth Games bronze medallist the biggest win of his pro career.
Reflecting on it all the Gerard McManus-trained fighter was overjoyed.
“It’s just unbelievable. All the hard training has paid off. It’s all worth it now,” he added.
“We were prepared for it and it came our way. I used my jab and my boxing ability showed through in the end. I seem to be punching harder too, which I need in the pros. I’m learning.
“Big respect to Lenny Fuller. I’m not even sure this is his weight-class so fair play to him for getting to the final. He deserved it.
“I knew I was two rounds up in the semi-final so I knew he was going to come. He was tough and he gave it everything. I had to work hard for that last three minutes but we’d trained hard for that.”