Steven Donnelly delighted with mega debut date one year on from almost retiring

What a difference a year has made for Steven Donnelly.

The Ballymena light middleweight is now less than a month away from making his professional debut after almost walking away from the sport last year.

Following an opening round exit from the European Championships, a weight-drained Donnelly was at the end of his tether.

Pro moves had been mooted and discussed a number of times without coming to fruition and he was no longer able to make the 69kg amateur welterweight limit.

It looked to be the end of the road for the then-28-year-old but he would return in November to claim the Ulster Senior title up at middleweight and, following a second Commonwealth Games bronze medal, Donnelly has finally turned professional linking up with Belfast trainer Ray Ginley.

‘The Donn’ will now debut on the massive Carl Frampton v Luke Jackson bill at Windsor Park and he can hardly believe the turnaround.

“It’s great. I just can’t wait,” said Donnelly. “You want a big stage to make your debut on and this time last year, it’s strange to think I was ready to give it all up! Now I’ve trained hard and it’s a huge pro debut on the table.”

“Belfast is definitely turning into the fight capital of Europe. You’ve all the talented fighters turning pro and MTK Global are making the moves. I just can’t wait to get in there and start showing what I can do.”

“Michael Conlan’s homecoming was a great atmosphere but Windsor Park holds many more than The SSE Arena and will be packed to the rafters. It’s just a great occasion and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.”

A bumper bill, the undercard in less than four weeks time also features the debut of Sean McComb, Marco McCullough, Luke Keeler, Steven Ward v Stevie Collins, Tyson Fury, Willie Hutchinson, Sam Maxwell, Lewis Crocker, and a world title fight for Paddy Barnes versus WBC flyweight champ Cristofer Rosales.

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


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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: