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No Demons for Donovan ahead of ring return

Eric Donovan [12(7)-1(1)] is focused on building toward a successful future not eradicating the past when he returns today.

The Kildare featherweight is adamant his first career defeat will have no residual effect moving forward.

‘Lilywhite Lightning’ gets back on the bike in Belgium tomorrow, fighting for the first time since his knockout defeat to Zelfa Barrett during Fight Camp, and does so with no scrapes or scars, physically or mentally.

The narrative surrounding a the first fight since a defeat often revolves around exorcising demons and restoring confidence.

That’s not the case for Donovan as the mental health advocate and motivational speaker has the tools to deal with potentially troubling times.

The high profile loss certainly won’t change his mindset moving forward.

“It hurt really bad,” he says of the defeat.

“But I am able to deal with anything life throws at me. I am a winner at life and a very strong resilient individual who will continue to take risks and push the boundaries in pursuit of glory. And I have the mental fortitude to deal with whatever outcomes my risk taking may present.”

Donovan may be able to take that approach due to the fact he performed so well against Barrett. It was in some ways a real breakout performance and he feels he has learnt from the defeat.

“Reflecting on it, I can only describe the loss an inexperience. I’ve learned loads and will certainly know what to do the next time I’m in that position.”

“I’m looking forward to getting back in the ring and putting the last one behind me. But I’m not in a mad rush to forget the last fight or anything, I’m just very keen to kick on.”

There is no doubt the Mark Dunlop-managed fighter will be given the chance to ‘kick on’ once he defeats Rafael Castillo [14(6)-58(20)-3] in Belgium today.

Matchroom boss Eddie Hearn has promised him a Sky return and he will be provided another chance to impress in 2021.

“I don’t know what Eddie’s plans are for me but he has promised to take me back out on one of Sky Sports, Matchroom shows in 2021 and I have no reason to believe that that won’t happen.”

The initial talk was Hearn would give the 35-year-old Athy southpaw a fight with the likes of Jordan Gill, a fight at his more natural weight, but still an away corner duty.

However, of late, there have been suggestions the promoter see’s the charismatic and impressive fighter as someone who can add value to a rumoured Belfast push.

It’s been suggested Donovan may become a home corner fighter and be central to an Irish return alongside James Tennyson and Tommy McCarthy.

The fighter himself hasn’t heard any such talk, but takes it as a compliment.

“I never heard any of these rumours but if it’s true I take it as a compliment. I just love to fight and I’m really excited about the future.”

Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 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: editoririshboxing@gmail.com