Steven Donnelly promises Olympic peak

Steven Donnelly stepped up his preparations for the Rio Olympics this week in Dublin and the Ballymena man hopes that the road less travelled will see him peak perfectly in time for the games.

The Ulster welterweight spent the week sparring with Lithuania’s European champion Eimantas Stanionis, culminating with a fiercely-fought test match at the National Stadium on Wednesday.

Afterwards Donnelly told irish-boxing.com that “I felt it went okay.”

“I’ve been sparring him throughout this whole camp, he’s very strong, just your typical Eastern European.”

“He’s very strong, keeps coming forward, but once you don’t let him move and once you move and keep out of distance he can be beaten.”

“You don’t want to lie in close to him, and I tended to do that when I got tired, but that will all come with conditioning.”

The 2014 Commonwealth Games bronze medalist sensationally qualified for the Rio Games last year. However, by the time details of an Olympic reprieve became known, a disenchanted Donnelly had been out of the ring for months. Thus the All Saints star has been forced to play catch-up somewhat, looking to get back sharp and in shape.

The 27 year old believes though that this build-up will suit him and allow him to peak at just the right time. Donnelly noted that “I like to be moving all the time, feinting all the time, and that will come with conditioning, I’m getting there.”

“There’s no point in peaking now, I’m more than happy with the way things are going.”

“I’ll be peaking at the right time.”

Up next for Donnelly is a fight versus the Argentina Condors in the World Series of Boxing on April 1st in Krakow..

While the option of going to a training camp in Assisi with Ireland’s other Olympic hopefuls was available, the Poland Hussars fighter has opted for a competitive bout, revealing that “I had the choice, but I rather would go for the WSB.”

The match-up against an opponent to-be-confirmed will be Donnelly’s second in this seasons competition following a loss in Venezuela last month. The Antrim boxer is taking a bigger-picture approach to each fight and views the five-round format as invaluable preparations for Brazil, regardless of result.

Nevertheless, Donnelly is still aiming for victory next weekend, adding that “I want the win, I’ll be going there for the win, it looks bad when you lose.”

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: [email protected]