Waterford win a two-way schooling for Eric Donovan


Eric Donovan [7(4)-0] took Ignac Kassai to school in Waterford on Saturday night – but seemed to take a trip to the classroom himself.

The Kildare featherweight was levels above the Hungarian and used his superior skillset rather than any bludgeoning force to force a second-round stoppage.

However, while he educated his opponent in the art of boxing, the former amateur of note admits he was as much pupil as teacher during the fight at the WIT Arena.

There is an acceptance that a fighter’s first 10 fights are learning ones, but for most boxers it’s a case of building experience and learning on the job. When speaking to Donovan, you get the impression it’s somewhat different for him.

The RTÉ pundit seems to be well aware of what he has to improve on as he makes his way up the pro ladder, works on it in the gym, and then tries to apply in the ring. Donovan isn’t just banking wins and experience when he trades leather, he consciously attempts to add things to his game in each fight.

It may just be that, as a pundit, ‘Lilywhite Lightning’ is better equipped to break down his own fights than other pro punchers – but he explains how victory isn’t his only goal at this stage of his career.

Donovan enters these fights with the big bouts he feels are just around the corner in mind. It’s not that he is distracted, rather he tries to implement set skills or tactics he knows he will need in his European title journey.

The gym is where he does his learning, in the ring is homework, a place he puts it into practice on his own.

“I have to use these fights to prepare for the bigger fights. I know with the trajectory I am on I will be facing a much higher calibre of opponent very soon, so I have to approach these fights with the eye on the prize that is further down the line. You don’t go in there just thinking ‘let’s get in there and win’,” Donovan explained after his seventh pro win on the inaugural Ring Kings card.

“Now I am training like that champion I know I am going to be, that European champion and that goal I set myself.”

One of those things the five-time Irish Elite Senior champion is looking to add to his game in the pros is a killer instinct.

Not only is the featherweight looking to get into the danger-zone more, he is also intent on taking advantage when he wounds foes.

“I am not the biggest puncher in the game but I have other strengths that far out weight that, my hand speed, combinations, footwork and so on,” noted Donovan.

“I really sat down on my shots tonight and he is a southpaw so I was working on meeting him with the left hook over the right hand and once it landed you could see it took the legs out from under him.”

“I was impressed with my ability to go for the jugular when I saw him wounded. That is something I needed to improve on. I do land a lot of shots, but it’s about capitalizing on when you do stun them.”

“You have to go in and do more damage because you only have a short window, so get in there and chop that tree a bit more. I felt I done that tonight. It can be a mental thing too, you can worry about conditioning, but I am so fit, I train hard, so get in there and work when you can,” he continued before further commenting on the transition from skilful amateur to pro contender.

“All my career was long distance counter punching, now I am more comfortable setting my feet in the danger-zone and trusting in my hands. I trying not to forget the fundamentals too. If you watch tonight I moved and negated his backhand and used my jab, schooling him, and that is the way it is.”

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

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