Steven Donnelly approaching Olympic peak

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Steven Donnelly put on the most impressive performance of his Olympic resurgance thus far on Friday night at the National Stadium.

The Ballymena welterweight took on awkward Russian Khariton Agrba in a test internaitonal and the consensus ringside was that he got the better of his opponent.

Afterwards Donnelly spoke to and told how “I was very pleased with that.”

“The timing was there, I’m starting to get that timing”

“I’ve sparred him before in Jordanstown and I went to war with him which was the wrong tactic, you’ve to draw him in.”

It has been a long road back for Donnelly, who basically quit the sport following his assumed failure to qualify for Rio, but the 27 year old is showing definite signs of progression.

The All Saints fighter notes that “I’m starting to feel sharper, I’m no longer feeling sluggish in there.”

“I’ll be perfect in time for Rio, I’m doing everything right.”

“You see that performance there? That’s still only fifty per-cent of me to be honest.”

“I will do better again, have that speed, in-and-out.”

As Rio approaches and he slowly returns back to the peak of his abilities, Donnelly argues that “more confidence comes in, there’s no pressure, I don’t have much pressure on me.”

“Obviously your family and all want you to do well, and everyone on Twitter, and it’s good to do well and back up your confidence, and that’s what I plan on doing.”

“I’m very confident in my own ability.”

“I can’t wait until it [The Olympics] starts so I can prove that I’m up there with the best in the World.”

A 33/1 gold medal-outsider, Donnelly is aware of the challenge that faces him and knows that “it’s not going to be easy, every fight’s going to be a real, real, battle, and that’s what I’m preparing for now.”

“I’ve seen the 69kgs that have qualified and there’s very few Africans and Australians, it’s all Eastern Europeans and it’ll be very, very, hard.”

“But I know when I’m on form I can do the job.”

Photo Credit: Ricardo Guglielminotti – The Fighting Irish (@ThefIrish).

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on, Boxing News,, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: