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Olympian Steven Donnelly turns pro

Another one of Ireland’s top amateurs has turned professional.

Rio Olympian Steven Donnelly has signed terms and will ditch the vest with immediate effect.

Ireland’s best performing fighter at the disastrous 2016 Games where he won two fights, Donnelly has signed a management deal with Mack The Knife Global.

The 29-year-old had confirmed on social media last month that he was set to make a move to the paid game and this switch has been completed.

The double Commonwealth bronze medalist has been in numerous negotiations regarding turning professional over the past few years – with Cyclone Promotions before Rio and with Lou DiBella, Espinoza Boxing, and MTK Global afterwards.

However, a move never materialised and the Ballymena man remained in the amateur ranks – with a European Championships campaign being curtailed by weight issues before a move up, an Ulster title win, and a second Commonwealth bronze at the Gold Coast to go with his welterweight bronze from Glasgow 2014.

Donnelly last fought competitively at the Games on the Gold Coast in April, with his middleweight (75kg/165lbs) bronze coming despite being outweighed by the entirety of the division.

With day-before weigh-ins and different limits, Donnelly will compete at light middleweight (69.9kg/154lbs) in the pros.

Being at a relatively advanced age for an amateur convert and possessing extensive five-round WSB experience, the avenue by which he secured surprise qualification for Rio, Donnelly is primed to be fast-tracked in the pros and has spoken in the past of his desire to face an Irish rival on his debut.

A switch-hitter with skill, grit, and plenty of experience both inside the ring and out, Donnelly is an exciting addition to an increasingly packed Irish and, especially, Belfast scene.

The fighter is expected to be officially announced later today and is set to make his debut on the Carl Frampton v Luke Jackson undercard at Windsor Park on Saturday August 18th


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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