Irish boxing’s very own fairytale will see a happy ending this year – according to Peter McDonagh, the Cinderella Man himself.
The Galway welterweight is a three-weight Irish champion, but believes that he will successfully make the step up to European level over the coming year.
McDonagh [27(3)-28(2)-1] only fought twice last year, but already has a fight date lined up for 2017. The 39 year old will box on the Daws-Yigit undercard on February 11th in Surrey at the Westcroft Leisure Centre, and he intends for this to be the first of many dates.
The Connemara Kid outlined how “2016 was not a very busy year, but I’m going to make up for it in 2017 thanks to backing of my manger Daniel [Kinahan] and my team at MGM.”
“I’m out in February, the earliest I’ve been out in four years. It will be a six rounder then, all going well, I’ll be back out in April, then June, then I’ll be in a position to fight for the EU title and continue moving up the rankings. 2017 will be my year.”
It’s an amazing turnaround for McDonagh who recalled how “In 2013 I was in no man’s land. After the defeat to Skeete [in a BBBoC Southern Area title fight] I went over to spar at MGM and to be honest it was just to get away. My boxing was going nowhere, I wasn’t training and I was taking fights with top British fighters at a few weeks, or even days, notice.”
“But while I was at MGM got talking to Daniel after sparring and he said to me ‘you train properly and you could show people what you can do. Your’e a good fighter. You will be looked after out here.'”
“To be truthful, it went in one ear and out the other, I’d heard it all before, but I kept in contact with him.”
Personal tragedy would then strike McDonagh, who explains that “that January then was the worst and lowest point of my life, I lost my sister to breast cancer. From then, to me, nothing mattered, the only people I had was my misses and my 2 girls and that was it. Boxing was the last thing on my mind and I was in dark place.”
“I got invited back out to MGM and was asked do you still want to box, I said that I realised that I need it, but it’s hard with no help and no one to look after me or guide me. We had a good chat and I decided I will give one more go, no more said, and I started camp that week, about January 18th 2014, and by March 17th – which was my sister’s birthday – I was Irish champion [when he outpointed John Hutchinson to win the light middleweight crown, his second]. I can’t thank everyone at MGM enough.”
“Since then I’ve racked up all wins with a few belts, now 2017 will be my big year – The Cinderella Man, it’s destiny. I’ve seen them all come and go and I’m still standing.”
Tickets for Peter McDonagh’s next fight (priced at £40 and £100) can be purchased by clicking here – or by phone on +448448440444
Joe O’Neill and Gavan Casey look ahead to 2017 in episode 1 of The Irish Boxing Show