The lack of showcase events taking place in Ireland has had a seriously negative impact on professional boxing in the country, according to Eric Donovan.
The Irish featherweight champion was in action in Belfast on Sunday night, easing his way to a stoppage win over Laszlo Szoke at the first indoor boxing event to be held in Ireland since February 2020.
However, the Lilywhite Lightning has explained that the absence of box-office events occurred long before the Covid-19 pandemic.
Speaking to Richie McCormack on Monday’s Off The Ball, Donovan said:
“Professional boxing has taken a massive blow over the last couple of years.”
“I read the other day on Twitter that the 3 Arena is going to host its 14th MMA event since a boxing event was hosted there, so that’s really alarming for professional boxing.”
“When you think back to the special events in the Bernard Dunne or Andy Lee days, there’s been some incredible boxing nights in this country.”
“They are memories that people will hold onto forever; they really capture the imagination of the whole country.”
“You can also see during the Olympics and how successful that was - there’s no sport better than boxing to unite people.”
“There’s a genuine appetite for it out there; I know that from the response I got during the Olympics - the amount of people getting in touch saying they were absolutely loving it.”
Donovan also revealed his personal ambitions for Irish boxing over the next few years:
“Hopefully, in the next year, we can start to see boxing coming back,” Donovan said. “I know it’s coming back with small-haul shows, but I would love to carry the mantle and be the man to bring it back, with live TV and a European title fight.”
“I have two goals which I would really love to make happen: win the European title; and defend it in Co. Kildare.”