Boxing: Donovan ready for showdown with Facebook 'foe' Valentino
ST MICHAEL'S lightweight Eric Donovan is relishing the prospect of being given the opportunity to put the record straight against Italian World champ and AIBA World boxer of the year Domenico Valentino on Friday.
Donovan retained his 60Kg crown and scooped the boxer of the Championships award following a thrilling 17-10 win over his own St Michael's, Athy team-mate David Oliver Joyce at the Elite National finals at the National Stadium in Dublin on Saturday night.
The 24-year-old is now in line to meet Valentino when Ireland trade leather with a star-studded Italian team at the National Stadium and the Donegal Celtic club in Belfast on Friday and Sunday.
Olympic and World super heavyweight champ Robert Cammarelle and 2007 World champ Clemente Russo have also been named on a full-strength Azzurri side.
Donovan and Valentino are Facebook friends -- but the St Michael's ace is not sure how to react to the latest message he received from the Italian.
He said: "He sent me a one-word message on Facebook saying: 'Goodbye.' I'm not sure if he's been sarcastic to tell the truth, so I'm thinking of sending him a one-word message back saying 'goodbye' in Italian.
"I'm relishing the prospect of this challenge and I'm not in the least bit daunted by the fact that I'm meeting a world champion. We've met three times in the past and I've won one and I was 4-0 (up) in another and I let it slip."
Looking back on Saturday's final, Donovan said that he felt he got the tactics just right on the night. "I had a brilliant first round and that is the key. I have been working on that for so long because if you look at the fights 90pc of the guys who win the first round end up winning the fights.
"My tactics were to go out there with a nice tight defence. Davy comes a bit square and lot of his shots are hooks -- he does not really throw many straight shots -- I wanted to block his hooks and come back with my own straight shots and up the middle with that uppercut.
"I have been working on that and that was a beauty because it lifted his head up out of his guard and I was able to counter with the right hook over the top. I had all the tactics (right), so it was all about sticking to them in the first round. I knew if I stuck to them I had a great chance. Thankfully, it worked out."
Meanwhile, Derek Thorpe looked to be on the verge of pulling off the shock of the championships after taking a 5-3 lead in the second round of his bantamweight final with defending champ John Joe Nevin, whose officially ranked seventh in the world.
However, Nevin, who was 1/50 on with the bookies to win the 54Kg clash, turned things around in the third round to win 7-5. Garry Molloy claimed the vacant flyweight title with a narrow 6-5 win over ex-champ Conor Ahern.
Molloy was 6-4 up in the final frame of this duel and withstood Ahern's late surge to claim the belt vacated by 2009 champion Declan Geraghty who withdrew from the championships injured.
World Youth champion Ray Moylette captured the light welter title with a convincing win over current Ulster champion Stephen Donnelly, with a 10-3 decision capturing the Mayo man's first Irish senior title.
Meantime, Holy Trinity's Cathal McMonagle, who had Mickey and Harry Hawkins -- the latter Bernard Dunne's ex-coach -- working his corner, produced yet another edge-of-the-seat comeback to claim the vacant super heavyweight title and deny St Michael's, Athy their third title.
Trailing 10-5 to Tommy Sheehan in the final round, McMonagle was looking at the exit. However, he restored parity at 10-10 and then registered the final score of a thriller with a short range left in the final 10 seconds.
World and European champion Katie Taylor beat Ukrainian Julia Tsyplakova 19-4 in a special bout on Saturday night. The Bray woman beat Tsyplakova 10-2 on Friday.
Irish boxing chiefs will announce their squads for the Italy double header today.