Not the big one but of big importance explains Eric Donovan

It’s not ‘the big one’ but it’s important nonetheless, explains Eric Donovan [13(7)-1(0)].

The Kildare favourite travels to Belgium with a host of his Celtic Warrior gym mates looking to make it back-to-back wins in the BeNeLux region later this month.

Unlike the majority of his stablemates, the 35-year-old saw regular action in 2020, so March 20 doesn’t represent a ring rust-freeing clash and nor is it a keep busy affair.

Donovan explains the fight is important nonetheless, as it represents essential preparation for his upcoming potentially career-changing EU title fight.

The Irish super featherweight champion felt it important to have a fight to focus on whilst waiting on confirmation of his mandated vacant EU title fight – and also believes he will benefit from going through the fight process with coach Pascal Collins.

“It’s important I take this fight to get a few rounds under my belt give me a focus in training camp,” he explained to Irish-boxing.com.

“Also there will be a big fight in the coming months, so It’s a good chance for me to go through the fight process with Packie and get that experience with each other in realtime. You can’t replicate that in sparring.”

When it was first announced Donovan had a date many wondered whether it may actually be the EU title shot and if he would trade leather with Haithem Laamouz in Belgium.

Journeyman Jamie Quinn provides the opposition over six rounds, so it’s not for the title, prompting fans to speculate further. Most were hoping it would appear on a Matchroom show live on Sky Sports over the summer.

The St Michaels Athy BC graduate wouldn’t be drawn on it but did hint he may have to travel to win the belt.

“Mark [Dunlop] is working on that. I just know I will have a big fight in the coming months,” Donovan continues before being asked as to what home he would like for the potentially career-changing fight.

“I don’t really think about it in the regard, I suppose I kind of accept that I will more than likely have to travel for it. So wherever that may be, it’s irrelevant, the goal is still the same. Bring home the title.”

Win the EU title and ‘Lilywhite Lightning’ will be a bonafide European title contender.

The super featherweight blue belt is currently held by French fighter Samir Ziani, who is managed by Gary Hyde, a Cork manager with St Michael’s Athy links.

Hyde told Irish-boxing.com he would love to give Donovan a shot at his champ. When asked about that, the popular MHD fighter kept his options open.

“I know about Ziani and Gago two European champions at featherweight and super featherweight, it would be an amazing opportunity for me to get a shot at either one. I hope these big fights are moving closer to me.”

Like the majority, Donovan, unable to sell tickets in a pandemic, is relying on sponsors to fund his fights and is grateful to the companies that have helped him out.

“Yes, my loyal sponsors are supporting me and I am very lucky to have them in my corner. Bearingpoint, Liffey Crane Hire, Kendra Civil Engineering, A and A Pharmacy, Novo Technologies and ISB Mobility.”

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 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: editoririshboxing@gmail.com