ERIC Donovan has vowed to fight on, that despite suffering an agonising 17-16 semi final defeat to Sean McComb of the Holy Trinity club at last Friday night’s Elite National Championships at the National Stadium in Dublin.
Appearing at his tenth championships, the experienced Donovan of the St Michael’s club in Athy, was beaten by the narrowest of margins, 17-16.
He trailed 12-9 at the end of the second round after losing the first two 4-3 and 8-6, but despite a spirited third round which he won 7-5, 27-year-old Donovan just couldn’t get close enough.
“I’m relaxed alright but as you said bitterly disappointed,” admitted Donovan.
“But look, I am used to it now at this stage; you don’t get anything for whinging and balling about decisions.
“I went to serious lengths to prepare for these championships; I went as far as joining up with Kazakhstan in the World Series of Boxing with preparations in mind for the senior championships – that was the sole reason for me going out to middle-Asia.
“I was very confident coming in here in every way. But I underestimated the height of him (McComb) – I knew he was a big guy because I sparred with him about a year ago but when I got in there tonight he must have added another two or three inches since then.
“I didn’t know what way to do it, whether to try and bring him in or fight him; in hindsight now I maybe should have went to him a bit sooner and a bit quicker but I didn’t really get into my stride until the last round and by that stage it was probably too late,” he added.
“But look, I can’t really complain – hats off to him.”
Admitting that the height difference between the two fighters was decisive, Donovan added that “it might sound odd to some but when you fight a guy like him – and he is a good boxer regardless of his height – but when he has that advantage in height it can be game changing.
“Boxing can be about margins which might only be small but equally they can be massive in a boxing ring; if you miss with your punches against a tall guy then you are going to get countered.”
Like many onlookers, Donovan was surprised with some of the judges’ scoring of the bout, even though he only trailed by a single point (4-3) at the end of the first.
“I was relaxed after the first round – there was only a point in it, but when I came back out after the second I knew I had a mountain to climb,” continued Donovan.
“Equally I knew that I had put in the work so the plan for the last round was to go out and throw hard body punches and see what he is made of.
“And I was hurting him because I could hear the grunts and his head was coming down but he was always managed to get himself away just as I was beginning to into him.
“It is hard in a scenario like that because while you try to remain calm you can’t help but see red. And with the clock ticking away, your mind is on the time, it’s on him but probably not on you and that’s why you can take some simple counters and he did that to keep himself ahead.
“I’m not used to chasing fights; I am good at protecting a lead once I get in front.”
As for the future, Donovan insists that while he will take time to get over this loss, he won’t however dwell on it too long, for with no intention of hanging up his gloves, Donovan insists that he will remain in the sport for at least a few more years yet.
“I feel great, I feel really good both inside and outside of the ring. I have to go back to Kazakhstan because we are in the quarter final of the World Series of Boxing next month.
“I suppose I’ll have to look forward to that because I am really upset with this tonight; I’ll have to deal with it though and get on with it.
“I am 27 now and I would like to think that I have the next Olympics cycle in me and maybe after then will I consider anything else. But until then I will continue to give boxing everything,” admitted the St Michael’s man.