'Nearly man' Donovan sets his sights on Martinez's European title
Eric Donovan is expected to start targeting Spanish veteran Kiko Martinez for a European title shot after claiming his first pro belt at Dublin's National Stadium on Saturday night.
The Kildare southpaw clinically dispatched Dublin's Stephen McAfee with a Guillermo Rigondeaux-like body shot to secure the vacant Irish featherweight title on a knockout.
The scheduled 10-rounder featured some sharp opening exchanges until Donovan detonated a left uppercut under McAfee's rib cage with just over 40 seconds remaining in the fourth round.
Current European champion Martinez, who has fought four times in Dublin, could be next for unbeaten Donovan after the ninth win of his career.
"The European Championships is my target and I'd love to do it and bring a big homecoming to Kildare. This is a very proud and special moment for me and my family," he said.
The new Irish champion admitted that there were times when he struggled with motivation but now he's fallen back in love with the sport.
"I always kind of felt I was the nearly man, I nearly went to the Olympics, I nearly won a world medal," added the Athy lefty who won European Elite bronze in 2010 along with Ken Egan who was in his corner on Saturday with Joe Clifford.
"But I'm back. I'm in a good place mentally and physically and I'm loving boxing again.
Meanwhile, Allan Phelan, whose sister Katelynn won on her pro debut on Saturday's card, and Victor Rabei claimed the vacant Celtic superfeather and light titles.