Eric Donovan [13(7)-1(1)] went into 2020 hoping for a big opportunity, but will enter 2021 ready to take an inevitable chance of note .
The Kildare fighter may have lost for the first time within the last 12 months, but ironically goes into the next 12 in a much better position – and with a clear pathway to success marked out.
Donovan impressed Eddie Hearn before, during and after his Fight Camp defeat to Zelfa Barrett, that the Matchroom boss promised him a second and more favourable breakthrough opportunity.
The Irish featherweight champion is confident that chance will come early next year – and having returned to winning ways in Belgium over the weekend is ready to step into major action.
“I think 2021 will be a big boxing year for me, the chances will present themselves and it’s up to me to deliver,” Donovan told Irish-boxing.com.
It is a big turn around from the narrative last Christmas, were Donovan was suggesting he would retire if he couldn’t secure a break through clash. Now with genuine momentum and promises from one of the biggest promoters in the game hanging them up is not on the radar.
“I did mention retiring in the past, but that’s because I felt like my career wasn’t moving anywhere. Now after making some changes and taking a risk, I may have paved open a pathway to another shot. So, we’ll just hold off on the big R for now.”
With Eddie Hearn recently batting eyelids and Belfast and Irish fight fans, that second shot may come with Donovan in the home corner.
Matchroom seem keen to bring the Sky Sports cameras back to the capital for Irish boxing for the first time since 2017 and the 35-year-old could benefit massively.
Hearn wants James Tennyson to top the bill and suggested European cruiserweight champion Tommy McCarthy will provide chief support.
Both of those fighters are managerial stable mates of the Athy southpaw and it seems only a fighter managed by Mark Dunlop and liked by Eddie Hearn would populate the card.
Belfast was back on the agenda big time when less than 24 hours before Donovan outpointed Rafael Castillo in Belgium, lightweight James Tennyson was stopping world ranked Josh O’Reilly in London.
The stylish fighter and respected pundit, who knows all about the small hall circuit, heralded it as a win for Irish boxing and is hopeful he can be part of any big homecoming show.
“I think Tenny winning is first of all, fantastic for him, but it’s also brilliant for Irish boxing.
“It might even be enough to bring Sky back over here. Obviously, with Mark having a great stable of fighters who have all boxed on Sky, it would be something special if we could all get onto a homecoming show!”