Steven Donnelly’s foot to the floor approach along the road to the top hit a small speed bump in March – but it’s a glitch that leaves him keen to unleash plenty of frustration when he returns to the ring tonight.
With four fights in quick succession, ‘The Donn’ had one of the better starts of an Irish professional in the paid ranks.
However, being twice denied the chance to register a fifth win – first via injury in December and then due to an extremely late pull-out in March – the Ballymena man has some frustration to rid himself of on the Ryan Burnett topped #MTKFightNight card at the Ulster Hall.
Back in March on the Keeler-Cummings 2 bill, Donnelly had weighed in only to learn that Chris Jenkinson had been forced to pull out due to a bout of light headedness at the hotel.
“It was frustrating going straight into camp with nothing to show for after my hard work for weeks beforehand. Training this time around has been hard and I am eager to get my winning streak going and impress the local public,” Donnelly explained before predicting he will hit top speed in terms of progression again.
“After the disappointment of not getting to fight just a month or so ago it’s great that my management have got me out so soon to keep me active. This will be the start of an active year where I plan to deliver.”
There is an element to progression in terms of tonight’s fight for the Rio Olympian.
Donnelly moves up to six rounds for the first time and victory over game Nicaraguan Edwin Palacios could put him in the title frame after just five fights.
Already hopeful of securing a fight with Irish champion Craig O’Brien – he will need an eight rounder first, however – the 30-year-old is a man in a hurry.
Donnelly described how “this will be my first six rounder so it’s another test I’m looking forward to, but I’ve been sparring eight rounds in the gym at a good pace so I’ll be ready for whatever is in front of me.
“I’m more than happy to progress quickly through the ranks. This is only my fifth fight and I’m hearing my opponent is a tough one, so bring it on and I’ll move on up again after this.”
There is a lot of competition for the spotlight on the ESPN+ broadcast card but Donnelly, who features in one of the commentary bouts, is determined to make some noise and impress regardless.
The WSB veteran recalled how “I went to the fights to support the fellow MTK fighters and it was a great night as always. There was a great crowd and Friday will be even better with Ryan Burnett fighting and a stacked undercard of local talent, so I’m determined to go in, perform great and get that win.”