ENNIS welterweight Paddy Donovan has his third professional fight this Friday night in the UK, while he has been installed on the undercard of Michael Conlan’s next fight in New York on St Patrick’s Day.
On Friday, he will face Nicaraguan Oscar Amador in Bolton and it should be a relatively easy night’s work for Donovan.
The 20-year-old welterweight is trained by former world champion Andy Lee, who acknowledged that Amador is really a journeyman fighter. “He is, yeah, but he has been in with some very good fighters, world-class fighters. This is where Paddy’s at in his career, picking up experience. Right before Christmas, we wanted a fight where he will learn a bit more.”
A hugely successful amateur, Lee says that keeping his focus outside of the ring is probably the biggest challenge his protege has had to deal with since turning professional.
“The lifestyle, I think, is the biggest adjustment for Paddy; it is something he is still coming to grips with. What he can do in the gym and learning and progressing in terms of his style and how he fights, he’s kind of ahead of schedule in that sense. The lifestyle is something I’m still trying to be regimented about!”
At amateur level, his sheer ability was enough but he can’t rely on that solely in the professional ranks.
“He’s a young man with a young family and it’s hard. He never has had to be disciplined to be successful. He’s always been able to get away with it; always winning everything. I wouldn’t say he was burning the candle. He wasn’t out drinking or running around, just his diet, probably his time management, that kind of thing; making sure he gets his rest after training, so he can come into the gym fully prepared. That’s something he has to learn and he’s starting to get that now. These are his first few fights and it’s very exciting for him.”
Paddy was a close friend of the late Kevin Sheehy, who died in July following an incident in Limerick, and Andy says it was a major blow to him.
“They were very close. They trained and travelled together, fought together. It was a tough year for him getting over that.”