Olympian Steven Donnelly set to turn pro


Another one of Ireland’s top amateurs is set to turn pro.

Following Sean McComb’s move yesterday, Ballymena’s Steven Donnelly is set to at last join the paid ranks.

Ireland’s best-performing boxer at the disastrous Rio Olympics, Donnelly has been in talks for a pro move ever since his quarter-final exit in Brazil.

The 29-year-old, who is currently on holidays with family following the Commonwealth Games, announced on social media that “it’s took a lot of time but soon we start the journey as a pro.”

“Didn’t ever think it would work out but God has a plan always and I will give it 100% until I get to where I want to be.”

There are currently a lack of details regarding the pro move. The switch-hitter has entertained numerous negotiations in the past including with Lou DiBella, Espinoza Boxing, and multiple discussions with Mack The Knife Global.

Having started his senior career as low down as featherweight (57kg), Donnelly eventually rose to welterweight (69kg) where he won Commonwealth bronze and was a surprise qualifier to the Rio Games following his participation in the World Series of Boxing.

The Antrim fighter was one of the few bright spots for Irish boxing in Rio, being our only fighter to score two wins, beating Zohir Kedache and Byambyn Tusvshinbat before losing a tight fight with World champion Mohammed Rabii for a bronze medal.

After the Olympics – and an ill-fated campaign in the 2017 European Championships – Donnelly moved up to middleweight (75kg) and, despite ceding massive amounts of weight, fought his way to bronze at the most recent Commonwealth Games in Australia.

In the pros, with day before weigh-ins, it is assumed that ‘King Donno’ will be able to make the light middleweight limit of 69.9kg.

Being at a relatively advanced age for an amateur convert and possessing extensive five-round WSB experience, Donnelly is primed to be fast-tracked.

Further details on the move will be reported as they emerge.

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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