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  Welterweight Paddy Donovan Ready For Rigorous 2024

World Boxing Association (WBA) Continental Welterweight Champion Paddy “The Real Deal” Donovan (13-0, 10 KOs) kick started what is expected to be a challenging 2024 with a seventh-round knockout of Williams Andres Herrera (15-3, 6 KOs), which was streamed on DAZN live from Ulster Hall in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

The 25-year-old Donovan, who is ranked No. 13 in the world by the World Boxing Association (WBA), successfully defended his WBA belt for the first time, albeit by overcoming some adversity before his Argentinian opponent was stopped for the first time in his career.

“It was great to be back in Belfast,” Donovan said after the Herrera fight. “It was a tough fight against a very durable opponent. Good scrap, I got hit and it’s not every day you see me get hit.

I got a bit fatigued and hit with a couple of shots but dug deep and pulled out the win. It was good to get the rounds at this stage of my career and to be in with fighters who hit back. There’s still a lot for me to learn. It gets harder and these are the type fights I need going forward. There are different types of fighters that I need now. It’s important to go through the different stages of my career to be ready when I get into a 12-round world title fight. It’s boxing.

“I’m looking forward to big fights in 2024. I believe I can beat any fighter in the world if I’m on my A game. I have a great team and trust them to choose what’s next for me. They always have my back.”

Donovan is trained by former world middleweight champion Andy Lee, who also co-manages Donovan with New York City-based lawyer Keith Sullivan.

“I’ve very happy with how he performed,” Lee commented, “considering it was a short training camp with Christmas in the middle of it. He had only found out about the fight in late December, so he only had four or five weeks. He stepped in and did a good job. Herrera came on strong around rounds five and six, but Paddy showed his character and got the stoppage in round seven. I was very pleased with that. He’s maturing and that was a very mature performance. He stepped up well and didn’t panic when it looked like Herrara was coming on strong. Paddy kept his composure and found the punch to get the stoppage.”

Donovan has several options on the table for 2024, which figures to be a critical year for the Irish welterweight sensation in terms of him developing into a legitimate world title challenger.

“We don’t have confirmation of when his next fight is,” Lee explained, “but if Katie Taylor is to fight in Dublin in May, which has been rumored, I’d like to have Paddy fight in another challenging fight. It would be nice to fight in Limerick to bring bigtime boxing back to Limerick. And then a big fight towards the end of the year. With that number of fights, he should be right on course, putting himself in as one of the top contenders in the welterweight division.”

“This fight showcased the depth of Paddy’s ability and tenacity,” Sullivan noted. “He looked great, stayed incredibly calm, and scored the knockout. You can’t ask a fighter for more than that. Moving forward, every option is on the table. We are planning an eventful year for Paddy.”

Donovan is using his boxing platform to promote the suicide prevention charity that provides mental health services throughout Ireland, Pieta House. Paddy lost two relatives to suicide. The Pieta Crisis Helpline, 1-800-247-247, offers crisis intervention support, 24 hours a day 365 days a year, to anyone experiencing suicidal thoughts or engaging in self-harm and also supports those bereaved through suicide. “If I can get somebody to call that number and change their life,” Donovan believes, “I think my deed is done on this earth."



 

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