Paddy Donovan ready for Kieran Molloy showdown after coming through “tough side” of draw

Paddy Donovan feels ready to take the throne as Ireland’s best welterweight.

The Limerick teenager fights in the National Elite Senior finals this weekend against reigning champ Kieran Molloy and believes he has had the run of fights that has him prepared to defeat the Galway star.

En-route to the decider, Donovan has defeated former Intermediate champ Conor Ivors and Commonwealth silver medallist Aidan Walsh – who himself had eliminated European bronze medallist Dean Walsh and Ulster champ Eugene McKeever.

By comparison, he notes, Molloy has beaten Aaron Daly and Luke Maguire – comparatively less successful fighters – to set up a showdown which many had predicted before the tournament.

“It’s the best final,” Donovan notes.

“The one that the country knew, me versus Kieran. He had the easier side of the draw, he’s been comfortable.”

“I got the tough side, Aidan got the tough side. Me, him, and Dean Walsh, Conor Ivors, Eugene McKeever, all on the one side. Them boxers could get out of any country in the whole world, all the boys are brilliant, it tells you where Irish boxing is at, the standard is brilliant.”

“I have people talking, I know I had them talking coming into this tournament, and I’m having them talking now. Dean Walsh is gone, Aidan Walsh is gone, all the big boys are gone, one more to go.”

The hyped-up Donovan was speaking in the immediate aftermath of his semi-final triumph over Walsh – a narrow 3-2 split.

A cagey fight, the OLOL southpaw was delighted to get the better of his Belfast opponent and feels it stands him in good stead ahead of the clash with European Union bronze medallist Molloy.

“He’s a tough lad, he’s one of the best in Ireland,” Donovan said of Walsh.

“No one wanted to fight him in Ireland, no one, all the best boys wanted to skip him but I was glad that I got him. He’s a brilliant boxer, 6’1″ tall, picks his shots very good – I knew it was going to be a very close fight, I knew it was going to be close.”

“It’s all about being patient in there, you have to be patient, you have to be. There were a lot of errors tonight from not being patient, but that’s boxing, I had to make some sacrifices in there, take some shots – but if I didn’t go for them shots I probably wouldn’t be here right now.”

READ: Magic Molloy planning Dean Walsh win since he was 15

Much like Molloy spoke last year about envisioning and planning his win over reigning champ Dean Walsh, Donovan is acutely aware of the Oughterard fighter and all his talents.

Analysing his opponent for Saturday, the 19-year-old noted how “he’s not as fast as Aidan, Aidan is tall and awkward, faster, brilliant footwork.”

“Kieran Molloy is solid, a different kind of fighter, and he will suit me down to the ground.”

“We’ve sparred, I came out of it pretty well but sparring is different to fighting. We’ve known each other all our lives, we were going away at 11 and 12 years old, international, all the way up.”

“It’s the fight everyone wants to see, it’s going to be special.”

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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