Steven Donnelly wants quick progression following Windsor debut

Steven Donnelly [1(0)-0] got a taste of pro boxing on Saturday night but the Ballymena light middleweight isn’t keen to hang around.

The Rio Olympian made his debut on the big Windsor Park show in Belfast, fighting early on on the Carl Frampton-headlined bill.

Facing rough and tough journeyman Kevin McCauley, Donnelly won every round of his pro opener, taking a four-round 40-36 decision to finally get going in the pros two years after his impressive Olympic showing.

Facing one of the most experienced journeymen around, Donnelly was appreciative of the work but does not want to hang around at that level.

29 years of age and with plenty of five-round experience through the World Series of Boxing, the double Commonwealth bronze medallist wants to be stepped up quickly.

Donnelly, who had floated the idea of fighting for the Irish title on his debut, explained to IFL TV how “you only get one chance and I want to give it my all.”

“I said I wanted to take risks when I turned pro. I don’t want to fight the same guys all the time. I want to take risks every fight and step up every time.”

“Whoever they get me, I’ll fight. I’m ready to fight anyone.”

“I know for a fact I have a lot more to show, I’m a lot better than what I showed. I can step up another few levels but I’ll show that against better opponents,” added the fighter who will make his second pro appearance on the Amir Khan v Samuel Vargas undercard in Birmingham on September 8th.

‘The Donn’ was more dominant than most versus McCauley, hurting the Manchester veteran numerous times in the first three rounds before a slightly sloppy final stanza.

Analysing his performance, an elated Donnelly described how “it was a polished performance, I’m very happy with my jab, the fast jab – just in the last round I should have rolled out maybe after combinations.”

“I feel great, I just wanted to get the win on my pro debut on such a big event, a football stadium, it was a lot to take in. I was just happy to get in and get four hard rounds under my belt.”

“I knew before the fight that he is very durable, there’s very few who’ve stopped him. I knew it would be very tough and he has all the wee tricks and he talks and stuff. Ray [Ginley, coach] told me before that that’s what he does.”

“I’m happy enough to fight Kevin on my debut, that’s what you want, you want to fight hard, you don’t want to go in and blow some guy away in the first round, I’m over the moon with it.”

Watch Steven Donnelly’s interview with IFL TV in full below:


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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: