Eric Donovan's bout with Zelfa Barrett on August 14th will now be for the IBF Intercontinental championship, meaning a victory could set him up with a world title opportunity.
Kildare’s 'Lilywhite Lightning', who is currently undefeated at 12-0, faces Barrett next Friday as part of Eddie Hearn’s 'Fight Camp' series in his back garden in Essex.
The two men will fight on the undercard of the clash between Felix Cash and Jason Welborn which will air live on Sky Sports.
Donovan, who is the current BUI Irish champion at featherweight, will step up to super-featherweight against Barrett who has only one defeat in 23 bouts.
With the IBF’s intercontinental belt now up for grabs, victory would see Eric Donovan earn a place in the organisation’s rankings and open the door to the prospect of a future world title shot.
Believing a major fight was always around the corner, Donovan kept himself ready throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
He was instructed by his new promoter Mark Dunlop to keep training as there was a good chance an Irish fighter would be needed on the cards in the future.
Speaking to Off The Ball last July, Donovan said, even though he is fighting at a heavier weight, he maintained it’s the best shape he’s ever been in.
“I know it’s an old cliché, but I’m actually in the best shape of my life, physically mentally, emotionally, spiritually. I don’t think I was ever this good, even as an amateur.
“Zelfa Barrett is a serious boxer but he’s never boxed someone like Eric Donovan. I’m going to be his worst nightmare in the ring.”
Joseph Diaz is the current IBF world title-holder at super-featherweight and could potentially be Donovan’s next opponent, provided the Kildare man defeats Barrett.
Barrett has for the most part been respectful in the build-up to the eagerly anticipated 'Fight Camp' clash but has fired a few verbal punches the way of the 35-year-old Irish featherweight champion.
Speaking to VIP Boxing, Barrett said, “What he has got on his back is his amateur pedigree, but then that was about 15 years ago.
“He has done what he has had to do against the fighters put in front of him, but I personally believe any of the fighters he fought I would have knocked them all out. All of them.”