ERIC DONOVAN has taken on Olympic medalist and former teammate Kenneth Egan on board as coach as the pair hunt a European boxing title together.
The Athy featherweight is reigning BUI Celtic champion and in his eight fight, will finally become eligible for the European rankings. Donovan hits this milestone when he tops the 'Celtic Clash 6' bill at Good Counsel GAA Club in Drimnagh, Dublin this Saturday night.
A lack of willing opponents in Ireland has stalled Donovan's dream of claiming an Irish professional title to go with his five amateur crowns, and 'Lilywhite Lightning' now looks set to bypass to continental level.
The current European champion is Spaniard Marc Vidal who soon defends against Kiko Martinez -and Donovan, for now, is targeting the new European champion Andoni Gago.
Another Spaniard, the hugely experienced Gago won the EU title in April following a war with Frenchman Geoffrey Dos Santos. The rough and tough Basque boxer is no pushover, last year going nine rounds with world champion Lee Selby on short notice while also drawing with former champ Victor Terrazas.
Donovan and his manager, Sligo's Leonard Gunning, however, are fully confident that they can dethrone 'El Macho' and moves are already being made to set up a fight, in Ireland, in the near future.
Donovan said: "I'd love to fight him, I really would. I'm under no illusion, he is a very seasoned professional and was a very worthy winner [v Dos Santos].
“He's an absolute workhorse and a menace in the ring as I would describe it. He does not stop fighting, punching, and if I do get the fight I'm going to need to be one hundred percent physically and mentally ready - and I will be."