‘I think I’ve messaged Ultimate Boxxer on all of the social media platforms because I really wanted to be involved, this tournament excites me and it motivates me. I’m not going to London to come second, I’m there to win and take another step up the ladder.’
Steven Donnelly represented Ireland at the Olympics in Rio, narrowly missing out on a medal. He amassed two Commonwealth Bronze medals in 2014 and 2018, competing for Northern Ireland. He also fought in Delhi in 2010. A switch-hitter with fast hands and feet, he prides himself on being the fittest member of his Belfast gym and comes into the UB5 arena with a 5-0 professional record.
How long have you been boxing?
I walked into a boxing gym for the first time when I was 13, along with two mates. They packed it in quite quickly, but I never missed a night’s training for the next two years!
What got you into the sport?
A couple of my mates said they were going to start going to boxing, and my Dad let me go with them. I was hooked instantly, but it helped that I was good at it from the start. After six weeks in the sport, I won my first Country Antrim title, and within eight weeks won the All Irelands in Dublin.
Why Ultimate Boxxer?
I think the format will suit me, it’s like the old amateur format. The fans love it, and I’ll be bringing a lot of support from Ballymena. I’m not going to London to come second, I’m there to win and take another step up the ladder. I think I’ve messaged Ultimate Boxxer on all of the social media platforms because I really want to be involved, this tournament excites me and it motivates me.
Why should we make you the favourite for the UB5 Golden Robe?
My history in the amateur ranks for sure, and I think that should be respected, but I’m also full of confidence and will go into the ring fully prepared having trained to the best of my abilities leading up to fight night.
When you’re training, what’s on the music playlist?
I often train to different types of music, but I do love my Trance – Above and Beyond, Armin van Buuren, guys like that, and I like Gerry Cinnamon. But I also love a bit of U2 too!
Who is your favourite sports team, or individual athlete outside of boxing?
Celtic – I absolutely loved Henrik Larsson, I think he’s the greatest ever player in the history of the club. I was up in a Celtic-supporting family, so was often taken to Parkhead – once you’ve experienced that, it never leaves you.
Who is your favourite fighter?
I grew up loving Floyd Mayweather, watching him training on YouTube videos and then loved watching him fight too. The pressure to deliver every time he fought must have been immense, but he managed it with ease. He is the greatest of all time. I also loved Amir Khan when he was at his peak – what a fighter.
What would be your dream fight, if we could transform your weight, height, or put you in a time machine?
You wouldn’t have to blow me up that much, but I’d love to go in with Sugar Ray Leonard, simply to experience what it would have been like to share a ring with him.