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Paddy Donovan backs newcomer Kian Hedderman to challenge King Kane Tucker

It’s the kind of fight that you could only see in the National Stadium this weekend.

The two-fight amateur novice shares the historic South Circular Road ring with a genuine Paris 2024 hope whose medal collection has long since outgrown his mantlepiece.

Kane Tucker versus Kian Hedderman in the 86kg Under-22 Championship quarter-final is not the most eagerly anticipated of this weekend’s many contests – but is one of those intriguing, even wholesome fights that only underage amateur boxing can throw up.

Tucker, a perennial Irish underage champion, Senior international, Commonwealth Youth silver medal winner and European Schoolboys bronze medalist faces Hedderman, a fighter who missed the under-18 limit by a week and steps through the Stadium ropes with just two Celtic Box Cup fights in his pink book.

The stats suggest Hedderman just has to hold his own to be able to claim a moral victory but, according to a man that knows all about Stadium success, the OLOL newbie is coming to win.

The Limerick teen has been working alongside former decorated underage amateurs Paddy and Edward Donovan and under their father ‘Gugu’ Donovan.

Top Rank starlet Donovan told the novice fighter is rejoicing in the challenge and looking forward to testing himself against one of Ireland’s best emerging talents.

The Andy Lee-trained southpaw wasn’t bold enough to predict an upset but he is confident people will sit up and take note of the Munster cruiserweight this Sunday and would predict serious success in the future.

“Kian Hedderman is fighting in the under-22s this weekend. I’ve been training with him and I think he’s going to the top. He will be an Irish elite fighter mark my words. Right now he is learning and this weekend he is up against one of the best boys in Ireland.”

“Kane Tucker is a stand-out name and a real class act, but Kian is in great form and he’s relishing the opportunity to make his mark at the National Stadium. I’m very excited for him and for this fight,” he adds before mentioning the latest Donovan to impress in the family business, cousin Jim Donovan.

“It’d be wrong if I didn’t mention Jim Donovan who fights Saturday in the quarter-final so good luck to him also.”

Jonny Stapleton 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: