Friday, August 04, 2017

UNBEATEN Athy-pro boxer Eric ‘the Lilywhite Lightning’ Donovan is stepping up to title level for the first time when he faces reigning Welsh champion, Dai Davies, for the BUI Celtic Featherweight title in only his fifth pro fight on the packed ‘Celtic Clash 3’ bill at the National Stadium in Dublin on Saturday 9 September.

In the opening year of his pro career the Kildare fighter earned a hard fought points win over Poland’s Damian Lawniczak on his debut before notching up a run of three stoppage victories to boost his ranking in the Featherweight division. Now he believes he is ready to jump up in class to title level.

“This is the type of fight that I’ve been screaming out for from the start. Even before I turned pro this is the kind of match I wanted to be involved with so I am bursting with joy and anticipation,” said Donovan.

“I want to be fast track and to be fair to my manager he has got me the fight I want.  I’ve only 10 completed pro rounds under my belt but I feel like I am ready to test myself against decent opposition and Dai is without doubt that. He’s fought world champions and is a two-weight Welsh champion with way more experience in the pro ring than me. He will know all the crafty tricks and tactics and I believe that will bring out the best.

“For the first time I feel like someone is really coming for the win and genuinely believes they will beat me. That’s given me the motivation I need and pumped me up for this fight. My performance is going to be key, in some of my previous pro fights I could deliver a below par performance and still win, but not this time. I have to prepare for every eventually and if the knockout presents self I will take it,” added the former Irish amateur star.

At 32 Donovan has no time to waste in the pro game and is ready to make his move.

“A win here will make people sit up and take notice, Davies is way ahead of me in the ranking and that’s where I want to be. I believe I have world class attributes so I want to test myself and prove myself. This fight can answer some of the questions about how good I really am.

“The backing from my sponsors and supporters has been fantastic so far, and I’m hoping to repay that belief in me by creating some memories for all of us. I was Athy’s first Irish Senior champion and now I want to be their first pro champion,” outlined the unbeaten prospect.

Davies, a veteran of the pro game with 40-fight career spanning over ten years, has an impressive resume that includes wins over Andy Townend, Paul Economides, Commonwealth champion Robbie Turley and Belfast’s WBO Inter-Continental champion Marco McCullough.

“It’s nice to have the opportunity to go to Ireland again in a real fight. It’s been a bumpy road with good times and bad, I’ve had a few decisions go against me but the love for the game is back, I’m fully focused and will be adding the BUI Celtic title to my collection,” claims the Welsh scapper.

“I know about Eric already, he was a really decent amateur and was in the World Series of Boxing. He’s a tidy southpaw and a game fighter. I had little study of him so I know what I am up against.  I see some weaknesses and I will capitalise on those at Celtic Clash 3.

“Just because I am going to his back yard, it is not his opportunity to shine, it’s mine. I went to Belfast and beat McCullough when they thought I wouldn’t, I’m going to do the same in Dublin. A win here gets me back in the mix for a British title and I am going to snatch it with both hands.

“I’ve been in camp for weeks already and I’ve changed a few things in the gym.  I’m going to be 100% on the night. I still got it, I’m still chasing it, I’m still enjoying it and I’ll not stop until I get myself back in the top mix,” said the Merthyr Tydfil-fan favourite.

‘Celtic Clash 3’ also brings together much of Ireland’s rising talent including the clash of unbeaten Irish fighters Regan Buckley and Carl McDonald, as well as the debut of Donegal’s Young Olympics medallist Michael Gallagher, Cork’s Colin O’Donovan, the return of unbeaten Dubliner’s Gerard Whitehouse, Stephen McAfee and Bernard Roe, with John Joyce and  Liam Gaynor adding more quality to the bill.

Tickets for Celtic Clash 3 at the National Stadium, Dublin on Saturday, September 9 range from €15 for U-15’s, to €40 for a gallery seat and €60 ringside, and are available in Athy from The Healthy Living Centre, 2 Duke Street, Athy, County Kildare. Alternatively, call Laura on 0867949406 or visit Ticketmaster.ie.

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