He dropped to his knees and yelled with delight as he was officially crowned champion Ireland last Friday night.
Such was the display of delight some suggested they All Saint’s all star, Stephen Donnelly must have fulfilled a lifelong ambition by taking his first Irish crown.
Maybe he did, but it’s not the only fight goal the Ballymena man year. After claiming his first National Elite gong Donnelly was keen to stress he would use it as a stepping stone to greater things. The next step is the Commonwealth Games and the Irish champ is going for gold in Glasgow.
“Everyone had me as underdog going into this. I had a tough fight against John Joe Joyce last week. They fully expected him to win, but I pulled it out of the bag. I deserve this win after the hard work I put in over the last four months. This is my time I knew I belonged at this level and I proved it in the final.”
While some new champs benefited from the fact last years winners were absent, Donnelly had to do it the hard way. He beat the reigning champion and Olympian Adam Nolan by split decision in an exciting final.
“I beat Adam Nolan who is a great boxer and the fact he is an Olympian makes it even better. Adam Nolan is a great boxer and this an unbelievable feeling and I deserve it,” he added before putting his rise to the top down to hard work.
” I had a year and a half break and I went the wrong way I came back and I got myself together. I started back doing what I am good at and that’s boxing and this is a stepping stone for big things. I going for gold in the commonwealth games now.”