Eric Donovan [12(7)-0] is well aware he has to walk the walk this week after years of talking the talk.
The Kildare fighter hasn’t quite been brash or bold verbally, but has been extremely vocal in his pursuit of a breakthrough chance.
Having proven himself at Irish domestic level and without the benefit of a time cushion, 35-year-old Donovan has been calling for a chance to prove he is next level worthy.
The St Michael’s Athy BC graduate flirted with an EU title tilt and the Golden Contract whilst under the guidance of Boxing Ireland and called out everyone from Carl Frampton to Jono Carroll now has his chance and knows it’s up to him to take it this weekend.
The Kenneth Egan-trained fighter moves up to super featherweight to fight Commonwealth champion Zelfa Barrett [23(14)-1(0)] live on Sky Sports and DAZN this Friday night.
27-year-old Barrett has been signed by Eddie Hearn to become a Hatton or Crolla-esqe star of Manchester and is a heavy bookies favourite to make a winning Matchroom debut this weekend.
However, having called for a chance to show what he is capable of, Donovan is determined to show his worth.
“It is a massive fight, I called for it and now I have it. It’s up to me to deliver and I am convinced I will deliver a performance to be proud of,” the popular southpaw told Irish-Boxing.com.
“I don’t put any added pressure onto myself by saying this or that, I know where I’m at and I’m relishing the opportunity.”
“When the fight was put to me I said yes immediately,” recalls the 35-year-old.
With an IBF ranking title on the line, the now Mark Dunlop-trained fighter claims victory could be career changing.
Donovan notes how “I think a win will be massive for my career especially with the world ranking title. That will put me in a fantastic position for major honours and huge fights.”
It’s a sizeable turnaround for Donovan. Worried he may never get a next level momentum injecting fight, the talented Lilywhite admits he considered retirement on more than one occasion.
“I’m still buzzing over the last year to 18 months. I considered giving up but something inside me just kept pushing on hoping for a breakthrough. Thank God we have it now.”
To get the full benefit of the opportunity, Donovan has to take it. He admits that won’t prove easy, but is looking forward to the challenge.
“I expect a difficult fight. I know how he operates, he means business. He will present a serious challenge and I am excited for the test.”