5th September 2012
Liverpool, UK—BOUNCING back from a crushing defeat can often be a difficult task in the world of boxing, but that wasn’t the case for Liverpool’s ‘Dangerous’ John Donnelly (13-2-0). The 28-year-old is the newly crowned English super-flyweight champion having defeated Mike Robinson (5-3-3) in March this year.
The Scouser had already amassed a respectable record between 2007 and 2009, with only one blemish in the form of a KO defeat to Gavin Read (4-2-0). However, Donnelly endured a frustrating period of inactivity in 2010 which was down to, “stuff outside the ring, getting into trouble here and there, but I’ve had to get my mind-set right and stay in the gym and have no trouble outside the gym,” he said.
His big opportunity came against Stuart Hall (10-0-1) in April 2011, when he challenged for the British bantamweight strap—but ultimately fell short to the classy Hall via fifth round TKO. Nevertheless, that loss has landed the 28-year-old where he is today, “It wasn’t hard [to bounce back], it was easier to be honest as it gave me more motivation to want to train harder and to achieve more in my following fights.”
Now under new management and promotion, Donnelly thinks his best days are still to come.
“I’m promoted by [Frank] Maloney, but I’m managed by Stephen Vaughan. It’s a great move for my career because all he’s interested in is Scouse fighters. He’s got Tony Dodson, Derry Mathews and myself, so his main priority is us,” he said.
Spurred on by the loss, Donnelly trained vigorously and his rededication paid off when he claimed the English super-flyweight title with a ten round unanimous decision over Mike Robinson at the Liverpool Olympia in March.
“I’ve moved down to super-flyweight and won the title against Michael Robinson,” boasted Donnelly.
“I’ve beat him for the second time in my career now. Beat him twice and he still seems to talk a good fight rather than box a good fight, he’s lost and drew more than he’s actually won!
“It’s my first title, but I should have got my first title a long time ago, but as I said, inactivity hasn’t gone in my favour,” he told BritBox.
It was a terrific victory in a highly anticipated small hall derby, but according to the champion, the pair will not be facing off again anytime soon, “Robinson wants the rematch, but I don’t think I’ve got anything to prove I’ve beat him twice. He’s got to earn his right to box me now for the title.”
The opportunity for glory won’t stop there for the English titlist as the BBBoC have sanctioned a bout for the vacant British super-flyweight title against Paul Butler—after Lee Haskins vacated.
“Now I’ve got Paul Butler for the vacant British title, which is another good move for my career. I think it’s more or less a 50/50 fight, but I’ll have to be on my best game to him.
“Paul Butler is going to be a favourite, no doubt. I don’t mind being the underdog in this fight and I know he’s a classy and a good fighter, I’ll be at my best to beat him. I’m going to Malta for three weeks with Stephen Vaughan to do road work in preparation for this one.”
Paul Butler (8-0-0) is a highly rated Frank Warren prospect who recently removed the ‘0’ from Ashley Sexton’s loss column; it will be a difficult assignment for the experienced Donnelly and one he will not take lightly, “I want to try and win a Lonsdale belt outright, but I’ve got this fight at hand first, so one fight at a time,” confessed the Liverpool man.
John Donnelly faces Butler on Nov. 9 in the Liverpool Olympia.
By Sean Pollock