Donovan and Byrne win big at National Stadium fight night

Andrew Irvine

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Eric Donovan weigh-in- by WorldSeriesBoxing(Flickr)
Eric Donovan weigh-in- by WorldSeriesBoxing(Flickr)

Irish boxers Eric Donovan and Jay Byrne earned big wins at the National Stadium in Dublin in their headline and co-headline bouts last Saturday. Both boxers produced impressive victories at Celtic Clash 4, the final professional fight night in Ireland this year.

Eric Donovan comfortably dismantled Juan Gonzalez 80-72 in the main event of the evening. The 32-year-old fighter from Kildare extended his record to 6-0 in what was his first contest against an opponent with a winning record. The eight-round contest was originally due to be a defence of Donovan’s BUI Celtic featherweight title, but this was no longer the case after his opponent came in over the 126lbs weight limit the day before the fight.

Donovan had former WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee in his corner for his impressive performance in which he won every round. ‘Lilywhite Lightning’ Donovan is being slowly built up at feather-weight, a division that is already rich with talent. British fighters Carl Frampton, Scott Quigg and Lee Selby are all either world champions or former world champions competing in the division. The addition of an Irish challenger to that mix is an intriguing prospect, but there is still a long way to go before that.

Another top Irish prospect that competed on the card was Gerard Whitehouse. However, the undefeated Dubliner fell short, getting stopped by Jay Byrne in the 4th round. Whitehouse Had amassed a record of 7-0 going into the fight and was a firm favourite. The 22-year-old was shocked by Byrne who had a record of 5-3 going into the fight. As a result of his win, Jay Byrne is the new BUI Celtic welterweight champion. Both fighters brought a sizable crowd to the South Circular Road for one of the most highly anticipated all-Irish fights this year.

The fight started off slowly, with Whitehouse landing the more noteworthy shots. Byrne was more physical as the fight progressed, landing his best shots on the inside. Byrne first hurt Whitehouse in the fourth with two big right hands. Whitehouse was dropped and was on wobbly legs when he got to his feet. Byrne consistently landed heavy shots on the younger man and eventually dropped him for a second time. Whitehouse beat the count and got to his feet, but the referee had seen enough and called a stop to the action.

You can watch the fight below

 

Byrne had become somewhat of a whipping boy for Eddie Hearn’s Matchroom boxing stable, losing to Felix Cash, Anthony Fowler and Josh Taylor respectively. This win over a young undefeated prospect in Whitehouse is giant in rebuilding Byrnes reputation.

Elsewhere on the card, undefeated fighters James Cahill, John Joyce, Martin Quinn, Niall O’Connor, Bernard Roe, Graham McCormack O’Shea, Dylan McDonagh and Craig O’Brien all got wins early in their respective careers. The penultimate Irish card of the year at the National Stadium certainly delivered in terms of entertainment.

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Andrew Irvine