Eric Donovan goes up against ‘El Pitbull’ on Celtic Clash 4

Ringside 28/11/2017

Juancho Gonzalez is coming to Ireland this weekend to destroy Eric Donovan’s ambitions of becoming a European champion in a similar fashion to how compatriot Kiko Martinez disposed of Ireland’s Bernard Dunne.

A new challenge awaits unbeaten featherweight Eric Donovan this Saturday night. The Athy fighter headlines his third show of 2017, more than any Irish fighter, at the National Stadium in Dublin.

‘Lilywhite Lightning’ puts his BUI Celtic title on the line in a first defence at ‘Celtic Clash 4’ – which also features a vacant BUI Celtic welterweight title clash between Dubs Gerard Whitehouse and Jay Byrne.

Donovan’s opponent for the eight rounder will be tough Spaniard Juancho Gonzalez [11(4)-6(3)] – an opponent who has been mooted since May and will now finally step in the ring with the rising Kildare star.

After beating crafty Welsh veteran Dai Davies to win the title on ‘Celtic Clash 3,’ Donovan is now presented with a completely different kind of opponent.

From Gijon in the Celtic Asturias region of northern Spain, the fighter nicknamed ‘El Pitbull de Polygon’ will push Donovan to his limits. A fit and strong foe, the five time Irish champion and European bronze medalist won’t be given a moment’s rest in what looks to be an intriguing clash of styles.

Gonzalez has mixed it with superior opposition, having been outpointed over eight by top Irish super featherweight Jono Carroll and stopped in the ninth in a Spanish title fight with current European champion Marc Vidal.

The man himself makes no bones about his approach, and states proudly that “I am a brave fighter. I like to attack and get into wars.”

While they may be polar opposites in terms of fighting style, Gonzalez sees similarities with his upcoming opponent. Like Donovan, the Spaniard turned pro in his thirties and, like Donovan, he is a southpaw. 38 year old Gonzalez described how “I know that he is a lefty like me. We are both veterans of the sport.”

Whether or not he feels that outboxing Donovan is out of the question, Gonzalez is targeting an knockout win at the National Stadium. In training for this fight now for almost two months, ‘El Pitbull’ outlined how “I want to win inside the distance. I suppose Eric wants the same, but we’ll see, you’ll have to wait until we are in the ring.”

32-year-old Donovan is not underestimating his upcoming foe, and notes how “he’s good, he’s strong, and he’s very dangerous because he is unpredictable. These guys, they’re not schooled like a normal amateur boxer is schooled, he’s a raw pro – and he’s a southpaw as well, my first southpaw, I’ve never boxed a southpaw as a pro.”

“He’s capable, he boxed Marc Vidal a while ago and Marc Vidal went on to win the European title afterwards. He was in that for nine rounds, had success in a lot of the rounds.”

This style of opponent won’t be any problem for Donovan, who is now trained by former WBO World middleweight champion Andy Lee, and the skillful southpaw promises that “I’m prepared to go down in the trenches with any boxer and give the fans what they want. I’m a boxer, out-and-out counter puncher, but I can be very, very aggressive and be a toe-to-toe boxer when I need to be. I’m a good sized featherweight as well. I have a punch as well, I can take a punch.”

“I’m not seeing myself as superior but I am very confident. I do see him as a threat, I’ll have to raise my game and I’m just trying to focus on what I’ve been doing with Andy. I’m feeling good though. I’m working myself very hard.”

Celtic Clash 4 also features a super featherweight scrap between Colin O’Donovan and Stephen McAfee as well as appearances from Bernard Roe, Graham McCormack O’Shea, Vladimir Belujsky, James Cahill, Craig O’Brien, John Joyce, Martin Quinn, Dylan McDonagh, Darren Cruise. and Niall O’Connor.

Tickets for the show cost €30 (Balcony), €40 (Gallery), €60 (Ringside), €100 (VIP Premium), and €15 (Under-15s – bought adult ticket) and are available to buy from the Healthy Living Centre, 2 Duke Street, Athy, County Kildare, or by calling Laura on 086 7949 406, or online at Ticketmaster.ie.