Niggles and Rust – Stephen McAfee wonders if Eric Donovan’s body will hold up in title fight

If Eric Donovan isn’t 100 percent fit then he has picked the wrong comeback fight warns Stephen McAfee.

The 33-year-old goes into a featherweight Irish title fight and ‘Clash of the Titans’ headliner with McAfee [5(2)-0-1] this Saturday night off the back of a troublesome year of injuries.

A frozen shoulder and a fractured finger hampered one of Ireland’s oldest, but more vaunted prospect’s progress in 2018.

With time not on his side, Donovan jumps straight back in in what is his toughest pro fight to date.

The Kildare favourite claims all the injuries are behind him ahead of a TG4-broadcast title fight that could see him make the desired next step but his opponent warns Donovan [8(4)-0] is in trouble if he is carrying niggles or ring rust into the bout.

27-year-old ‘Showtime’, who is stepping down to super featherweight, claims he is the wrong man to be in the ring with if you show physical weakness.

“Only Eric knows how he is injury-wise or if the break affected him,” McAfee told

“He might have a niggle now and isn’t saying anything. Only he knows, but there is a chance he might get a reoccurrence during the fight. Again you never know it’s possible – and it would be a wrong place to get an injury in there with me I’ll  tell you that much.”

The Kildare v Dublin bout is one of thee eagerly anticipated domestic title clashes on a National Stadium-hosted card and pits two fighters who have sparred each other against one another.

Yet the Sallynoggin native won’t be reading too much into what happened when they shared the training ring.

“I think we sparred twice. You don’t take too much out  it. We were not in full camp and you don’t know where the other is fitness wise. You can take bits, but it’s not relevant really. I will be different gravy on the night from the spars anyway.”

McAfee goes into the clash as the underdog.

It’s decorated former amateur standout against a former kickboxer who has unexpectedly barged his way up the domestic ladder.

The Jonathan Lewins-trained fighter was rewarded for early risk against Colin O’Donvan with a BUI Celtic title fight and win (he was presented with the title by none other than Donovan) – and is confident he will again benefit from his calculated risk approach.

“I think my approach is how I have gotten to the top of a bill like this and into an Irish title fight. I have taken risks instead of the easy route.”

“I have always taken the fights put in front of me and this is the reward. I am top of the bill and telly and the plan is to win and jump up the ladder again.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish)

Tickets for ‘Clash of the Titans’ cost €40 (general), €60 (ringside), and €100 (VIP) and are available from the boxers involved or Ticketmaster (CLICK HERE).


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Jonny Stapleton contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sport for a living for 19 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: