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“Totally dominant” Donovan believes he bettered European Champion

On the face of it, victory over Juan Luis Gonzalez wasn’t a major step toward a European title shot for Eric Donovan.

However, what happened inside and outside the ring in the National Stadium on Saturday cemented the Kildare favourite’s continental belief.

While the Spaniard didn’t provide the Athy southpaw the chance to bank a European ranking – the 32 year old will need eight fights under his belt first – he did give Donovan the opportunity to make comparisons with current European champion Marc Vidal.

Gonzalez was stopped in nine by the famous blue belt’s current custodian when they fought last year.

Not for the want of trying, and to his frustration, ‘Lilywhite Lightning’ didn’t manage to get the knockout in their eight-round bout, but he does feel he bettered Vidal’s display against Gonzalez.

“I was looking at him fighting Marc Vidal because that is my target because he is the European champion. Vidal stopped him in nine rounds, but over the eight rounds he had before he stopped him in the ninth and my eight rounds – my eight rounds were classier,” the former five-time Elite champion explained.

“I think I was totally dominant. I gave him nothing. I’d say the only time he had a little bit of success is when I was trying to take him out. He was swinging for the hedges then in desperation and he might have hit me a few body shots then and around the head.”

“Nothing he planned worked out for him and that’s down to my own intelligence in the ring and my footwork. Knowing when to step it up and knowing when to go for a walk, it’s all part and parcel of the game.”

After his sixth straight win since turning over last Summer, Donovan is certainly gaining momentum in the ring.

However, there is a sense that something is building outside the ring too and the fighter himself noticed it on Saturday.

The featherweight has always proved a Stadium favourite and it seems he has the support of the boxing family and there has always been a sense he could be the one to bring RTÉ back into the sport. Things are nowhere near Bernard Dunne levels as of yet, but they are some early day similarities that look encouraging.

Some big boxing names dotted ringside, as they do for various shows in fairness, while some noted stars of other sports were in attendance and well as the odd celeb type.

Donovan will always have to do the business in the ring, but there is a sense a growing support base will help him reach his goals over the next year or so.

“It was great to see a lot of high profile people out there supporting me and a lot of boxing clubs from around Leinster and Ireland. One club coach came up to me and said we had 50 here tonight, but we will bring 200 and fill it the next time.”

“That’s what I want to do. I want to create memorable evening for people. This was probably the first show were I felt this is a fight night. There was an atmosphere out there tonight. It was like this is ‘the fight’.”

“It was good and I got the sense that this was something else. It’s good to be a part of that and I think we are moving in the right direction in Ireland in professional boxing,” Donovan continued before stressing he is hoping things will grow further next year.

“I am looking forward to 2018, it’s a big one. The goal is to get in the European rankings.”

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


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