Why London? – Team Donovan explain reasons behind UK venture

Team Eric Donovan don’t want to – and won’t – abandon Ireland.

The Kildare featherweight had his UK debut confirmed earlier this week, with it being announced that Donovan will box on a Hellraiser show at the York Hall on Saturday June 22nd.

The appearance comes following the Athy 33-year-old’s sensational knockout Irish title win in March and fans may have worried that this move overseas could mark a more permanent switch overseas – but Donovan’s manager, Leonard Gunning, assures that this is not the case.

The Sligo fight boss explains that there are still big things in the pipeline at home for Donovan [9(5)-0] but, with ‘Lilywhite Lightning’ already ruling the domestic scene, building a profile in the UK is a logical move – especially seeing as the schedule in the Republic of Ireland is quiet over the summer months.

Gunning told Irish-Boxing.com that “obviously Ireland is our home and we plan to bring more big title fights here, maybe even a homecoming in Kildare for Eric, but we can’t ignore that we are right beside one of the biggest boxing markets in the world.

“It’s important for Eric to make an impression in the UK, a lot of power in boxing is concentrated there and we are licking our lips looking to take advantage.”

“The York Hall is an historic venue and the crowd there are knowledgeable to the extreme, there is no pulling the wool over their eyes. I think Eric is going to impress some important figures and tastemakers here.”

Josh Warrington defends his IBF title versus Kid Galahad this summer but, beyond this, the British domestic scene does not worry Team Donovan in the slightest. Leigh Wood, Ryan Doyle, and Jordan Gill are all in action this weekend while there are any number of other unbeaten prospects such as Raza Hamza, Lewis Paulin, and Ryan Wheeler that they would be willing to face.

Gunning outlined how “I look at the British rankings and there is not one featherweight there that I wouldn’t put Eric in with. He is a different level talent-wise to all of them.”

“Last time out, against Stephen McAfee, that was the best Eric has looked in a ring since he was winning medals in the amateurs. The man is 33 but is only getting better under Kenny Egan and Joe Clifford and I’m looking forward to seeing what we can set up with a win in London.”

Kildare Boxing is proudly supported by Liffey Crane Hire

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


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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