Steven Donnelly issues come-and-get-me plea to MGM and Warren

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Welterweight Steven Donnelly is set to follow Paddy Barnes and Mick Conlan into the pro game, but the Ballymena boxer admits he has a big decision to make.

Donnelly was one of the few Olympic success stories for the Irish boxing team in Rio. Perhaps the biggest outsider before the Games, the Antrim man won two fights and made it to the quarter finals winning the hearts of the Irish public in the process with his constant positivity in what were a depressing Olympics.

The 28 year old also caught the eye of a number of promoter whilst in Brazil. The Espinoza Boxing outfit in Los Angeles who manage WBO featherweight champion Oscar Valdez were in touch before Donnelly had even left the Olympic Village. Macklin’s Gym Marbella have also expressed an interest in adding the slick fighter to their rapidly-growing Irish stable, while DiBella Entertainment have opened negotiations with the Irishman with a view to adding him to their multi-national roster.

Donnelly, a self-confessed home-bird now faces a tough choice on whether he will up sticks and relocate Stateside.

The 2014 Commonwealth bronze medalist spoke to and revealed that “Lou DiBella is coming with an offer in the next couple of days, but he wants me to be based in New York, which will be hard for me.”

“That’s where I’m stuck on a decision.”

At this moment in time, Donnelly is perhaps leaning towards a deal closer to Ireland, and admits “I’d rather be home maybe.”

Regardless of this though, money is a crucial factor for Donnelly, who at 28 would have a shorter professional career than many turning over and therefore needs financial stability first and foremost. The American dream has not been ruled out, indeed it is where he has seen the most concrete interest thus far, and Donnelly stresses “don’t get me wrong, America is a great offer.”

“But Warren and MGM would be good if Warren gave me good signing-on fee!”

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: