Donegan eyes title shot as ring return confirmed

Boxing news

After a year of inactivity, Drumgoon fighter Dominic Donegan will finally return to action on March 20 when he heads to Luxembourg hoping to push his record to 6-0 – but the Cavanman has his sights set on bigger things before the year is out.

Donegan (26) was making steady progress in the professional ranks before the lockdowns intervened but he hopes to get back on track and next month and has his eye on a couple of title fights down the line.

“I am heading to Luxembourg on March 20, thank God. I’d rather fight in Ireland to tell you the truth but a fight’s a fight and I need to get out. It’s been a year now since I was in the ring,” Donegan told The Anglo-Celt.

“I had five fights in my first 11 months which is massive for a pro, usually they average about three fights a year. I was meant to fight for a title last year against Eddie Treacy, hopefully that will go ahead this year in the 3 Arena, fingers crossed.

“It’s for the BUI Celtic title, it puts you next in line for the Irish title. And if you win the Irish title you are ranked in Europe then.

“What I have in the back of my head is the long-term. If I could beat Eddie for the Celtic title, that puts me in a massive position because I know the Irish title-holder and I’m confident enough if I got my hands on him. You’re ranked in Europe then and that’s kind of what is keeping me focussed.

“I’m only a pro under two years so to have five fights, I’m not really behind. I’m training mad, I have a wee gym set up so I have no excuses. Elite fighters are allowed to fight now which lets me go up and down to my coach in Bray again as well.”

Donegan is one of the few Cavan sportspeople currently permitted to train fully under the restrictions. Sparring is allowed so long as it’s with another boxer from the same gym.

“You are a professional, an elite athlete, so you have to get a bit of sparring in. I wouldn’t be getting as much in as usual although with the fight coming up, I am getting more in.

“A lad from Kerry is heading over with me so we go up to Bray for a two or three-day training camp and bounce off each other. I’m not getting a massive variety, he is a light-heavyweight and I’m a light middleweight, so he’s a good bit heavier than me but you have to work with what you’ve got.

“It’s still tight, I’m very strong for my weight. I hold my own.”

Donegan admitted that he found it hard to stay motivated but he has kept up the training to make sure he is in optimum shape when an opportunity finally arises, which it now has.

“I didn’t feel I was a boxer there for about six months. There was nothing happening, I was meant to be in three fights last year and they all got pulled about two weeks beforehand.

“I was training and then I’d get a text to say it was pulled with the restrictions. It was hard but as I said, I like training. I was training to keep myself in shape and keep the weight right. I fight at 69kg and I walk around at 80kg so if I let that go any higher than 80kg, I’d be tortured in a camp.

“But I’m walking round now lighter than I ever was before I started a camp, I am 76kg, so it worked to my benefit that way.”

A member of the Defence Forces based in Dundalk, Donegan has been assisting with Covid swabbing and has received the first jab of the vaccine. His fight in Luxembourg, against an as-yet unnamed opponent, will be his first eight-rounder and he believes the experience should stand to him if and when he fights for the BUI Celtic title.

“There’s no opponent yet but I’m doing an eight-rounder. I could have fought a four-rounder only I’d get no experience out of that. Eddie [Treacy] is going to be an eight-rounder and he has never done any more than a four-rounder so I want to get that experience.

“I did a six-rounder in Spain so I have had a taste of it.

“Eddie is a hard hitter. I was his sparring partner when he fought Owen Duffy, I was on the same card so it suited us both. He’s a hard hitter but I personally think he’s limited – he has power, you can’t take that away from him, but he’s not going to have that after three or four rounds.

“I fancy myself but I’d say he’ll fancy himself too. There will be a fight behind closed doors after this one in Luxembourg to get everyone a warm-up fight ahead of a big event in the 3 Arena in November.”

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