Stephen Doyle
Stephen Doyle

17.37 12 Aug 2020


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Eric Donovan is a huge underdog heading into his fight with Zelfa Barrett this Friday night but he fully believes that he is capable of upsetting the odds.

The English boxing media expect Barrett to add another victory to the 23 he has claimed so far, 14 by way of knockout, when he steps into the ring with the hugely popular Kildare veteran.

At 35, Donovan admits the chance to fight the highly-rated 27-year-old was one that he could not turn down, while others in the division ran for the hills.

"I think in life if you want to be successful, no matter what, you have to take risks," said O'Dononvan in the pre-fight press conference.

"You also have to be able to back it up, you have to be good enough and you have to prepare well.

"When this opportunity was presented to me I knew that chances and opportunities for me are few and far between, where I am at my age and in my career.

"Nobody had the balls to fight Zelfa at super featherweight in Britain, so when Mark [Dunlop - promoter] put it to me I said, 'Yes Mark, I'll step up and I'll take that because I see an opportunity'.

"I believe in myself and I believe if I can get a good camp, good preparation, that I could actually put in a good performance and win this fight and so far we have done that.

"If I can perform to the best of my ability on Friday night, I think I can do enough to win."

The only blot on the Barrett copybook is a shock defeat on points to Ronnie Clark in a bout for the then-vacant IBF European title in February 2018.

Since then he has returned to winning ways with four straight victories, two knockouts, and he is eager to get started in his first fight since last October.

"I'm buzzing. In the shower and getting ready [today]. I'm just buzzing about this opportunity and about fighting," said a very enthusiastic looking Barrett.

"Respect to you [signalling to Donovan], I really appreciate you taking the fight."

If Donovan can't take the Manchester native down in the ring, he most certainly could kill him with kindness.

"I don't want to fight you now. You're such a good guy," a beaming Barrett exclaimed.

"I'm under no illusion, he's there trying to beat me and I'm there just to do a job on him.

"No disrespect to the guy, and even though he's here, I'm going to look good doing it. The better he is, the better I'll be. Whatever he has done in camp, I'll outdo it. I'm just ready, I'm excited.

"I'm ready to go to Ireland and back man, to beat this guy, if I need to. I've trained so hard. I've dedicated my whole life to boxing."

The outpouring of support for the Irishman, who has Olympic silver medallist Kenneth Egan in his corner, has been incredible and evidenced by a quick search of his name on any social media platform.

It has not gone unnoticed by Donovan who believes that they will bear witness to a very special fight.

"I'm absolutely overwhelmed, honestly, I feel so lucky and blessed that the whole country has got behind me," said the fighter who is undefeated in all 12 of his previous professional bouts.

"I've loads of fans over here as well. I have a lot of family in Colchester, my Dad lives in Colchester, my brother lives in Colchester.

"I've got a lot of fans here and I've been well received in all the interviews and the media have been very good to me.

"I think a lot of people are looking at this fight on paper and they're intrigued by it and they're excited by about it because you've got talent versus talent. You've got youth versus experience.

"Even though he probably trumps me in professional experience but I've got a huge amateur pedigree.

"There's a lot of ingredients to this fight that can sway one person's opinion to one side and then the other but the fans are going to be the real winners at the end of this.

"I know he's up for this. I know Zelfa, it's a big opportunity for him with Matchroom [Boxing] as well.

"I do think he will go on to be a big star, I genuinely do. I just don't think Friday night is going to be his night."

The IBF Intercontinental championship will be on the line when the two men clash on the undercard of the Cash v Welborn bout,. which is one of a series of Matchroom's Fight Camp events on Sky Sports.

The whole card will be broadcast on Sky Sports Main Event this Friday night from 7pm.


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