Olympian Steven Donnelly looks set to stay amateur – but pro door not closed yet

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Rio Olympian Steven Donnelly has revealed that he is in the beginnings of preparations for next February National Senior Elite Championships.

The Ballymena welterweight had hoped to turn professional following the Games in Brazil, in which he was the only Irish boxer to win two bouts, however he was left disappointed by the offers which were on the table.

Donnelly remains in talks with one major promoter, but for the time being he is planning to continue his career as an amateur boxer and will rejoin a new-look Irish Elite squad before the end of the year.

28 year old Donnelly spoke to Irish-Boxing.com last night while he was at the National Stadium in Dublin supporting his All Saints BC club mate Vinney Esler in the National (Intermediate) final [light welterweight Esler was edged out in his final by Eugene McKeever].

The Ulsterman outlined how “It’s now three months after the Olympics and I’m more or less back, ticking over, and I’m in decent shape. I’ve been training hard the last couple of weeks.”

“At the minute I’m still amateur, so I’m going to go back to the High Performance in Dublin a couple of weeks. I’m going for the Seniors [Elites], they’re in ten weeks so I’ll be more than ready for them if I do stay amateur.”

“You have to ask yourself ‘am I motivated for this?’ I’ve done everything that you can do as an amateur, and to come back down to the Stadium for training probably wasn’t what I dreamed I would be doing after Rio – but I’m going to keep boxing because it would be a waste of my talent if I packed it in.”

Donnelly had been in talks with numerous promoters following the Games, and remains in negotiations with one, but he admitted that “the pro dream kind of turned out bad for me. I was expecting to turn pro straight after Rio, but it just didn’t seem to work out, I didn’t get the offer that I wanted.”

“I’m not looking for mad money, but I had a good Olympics and I believe I deserve something a bit better than your average boxer going pro.”

“I’ve one option pro-wise, so we’ll see how that goes, but at the minute I’m an amateur.”

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie