Eric Donovan hopes to answer questions against Welsh champ Dai Davies

A thinking man’s boxer, Eric Donovan [4(3)-0] is always asking questions, and he believes that Dai Davies can help him answer them.

In a big step up, Donovan takes on the Welsh champion in the headline fight on the ‘Celtic Clash 3: Building Champions’ card at the National Stadium this Saturday.

While his record may not be much to look at, Davies [14(2)-25(12)] poses a huge threat and Donovan is delighted to finally get the chance to prove himself against a strong opponent.

With the greatest of respect to Damian Lawniczak, Krzysztof Rogowski, Stefan Nicole, and Laszlo Horvath, none of Donovan’s opponents presented anything more than a Hail Mary hope of causing an upset. In Davies he is faced with an foe that is coming to win, and who has proven time and again that he can mix it with, and beat, domestic opposition.

‘Lilywhite Lightning’ is eager to test himself and described how “I’ve always said it, to myself, ‘how good am I? Where can I go? What can I do?’ These are the questions that I’m always asking myself, on a daily basis, so when you get the opportunity to fight a proven professional boxer, I wanted to take that with both hands and relish it.”

“My record looks very nice already, very pretty, 4-0 with three KOs, but now I’m up against a boxer who’s not a journeyman. Someone who’s been in with a lot of good guys, someone who’s went to people’s own backyards and caused an upset. So that’s going to motivate me for Saturday night.”

“I know that I’ve a guy waiting on me who genuinely believes he’s going to win, and that for me will bring out the best Eric Donovan.”

Analysing his opponent, the RTÉ pundit outlined how “I know what he has. I’ve watched him, a lot of his fights. He doesn’t really change. He hasn’t got many, many strings to his bow. But he’s a very good, solid professional – tight, compact, throws a lot of shots, good engine, and takes a good punch as well.”

“He’s going to definitely present me with a good challenge. Eric Donovan’s going to have to be on top of his game to win. I’ve prepared to make sure that that is going to happen. I feel really, really good, I’m firing on all cylinders.”

Noting the dangerous nature of the bout, Donovan admitted that “this is a risk-reward fight. It’s a high risk, but a humongous reward for me. It can catapult me right up there, and that’s why I’ve taken it. I’m not interested in sitting around, padding out my record. I want to go and answer them questions in my head.”

An ambitious fighter, the Athy man enters the fight on top form and claims that “I’ve no doubts, it’s more curiousity. I don’t fear losing because I’ve lost before in big fights. I lost in my fight to qualify for the [2008] Olympic Games, which was a huge blow for me. All them were learning experiences for me. It’s a journey.”

“I’m prepared for it, and when you’ve prepared for something one hundred percent you can just go in there and the rest is out of your hands. You hope that whatever you’ve done, and whatever you’ve displayed on the night, is enough to win.”

“I’m prepared to go down in the trenches with any boxer and give the fans what they want. I’m a boxer, out-and-out counter puncher, but I can be very, very aggressive and be a toe-to-toe boxer when I need to be. I wont lose the fight easily.”

The fight will be Donovan’s first at nine stone in over a decade, however the 32 year old is feeling better than ever.

Recalling the last time he made the weight, Donovan said that “it was 2007, I lost the Senior final to David Oliver Joyce and I moved up to lightweight. As a professional it’s possible to make 57kg because you have the day before weigh-in and you only have the one fight.”

“I started my career as a pro at super featherweight and I was just making it to easy, way too easy. I spoke to some really well accomplished professional boxers who said to me that it’s got to be difficult, the last three, four pounds has to be difficult, so I dropped down to featherweight.”

“I’m a good sized featherweight as well. I’m a big featherweight, five foot eight. I have a punch as well, I can take a punch. I’m really looking forward to some exciting fights and making sure that I have every advantage, there’s no point in me boxing at super featherweight if I can do featherweight, it’s as simple as that.

Headlined by the Eric Donovan v Dai Davies BUI Celtic featherweight title fight, the ‘Celtic Clash 3: Building Champions’ card also features Regan Buckley v Carl McDonald, Gerard Whitehouse, James Cahill, Stephen McAfee, Martin Quinn, Aiden Metcalfe, Dylan McDonagh, Colin O’Donovan, Chris Mullally, Michael Gallagher, Sean Creagh, Niall O’Connor, John Joyce and Bernard Roe.

Tickets for the show cost €30 (Balcony), €40 (Gallery), €60 (Ringside), €100 (VIP Premium), and €15 (Under-15s gallery – must be bought alongside an adult ticket) and are available to buy from the Healthy Living Centre in Athy, by calling Laura on 086 7949 406, or online at Ticketmaster.ie.

Kildare Boxing and Eric Donovan are proudly supported by Liffey Crane Hire

gym trition

frayne carpentry

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