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Former Olympic boxer Steven Donnelly apologises for directing online racial slur at Belfast fighter Caoimhin Agyarko


Steven Donnelly

Steven Donnelly

Steven Donnelly

A Ballymena boxer who represented Ireland at the 2016 Olympics in Brazil has apologised after he came under fire online for aiming a racial slur at a Belfast fighter.

Steven Donnelly said there was “no excuse” for the comment and admitted he is in a “bad place”.

The spat on Twitter between the two rivals broke out after light-middleweight boxer Steven Donnelly expressed a desire to fight Caoimhin Agyarko.

The pair took their hostility out of the ring on Monday night after Agyarko included a jibe in a tweet in response to Donnelly’s request for another bout.

That sparked a furious response from Donnelly who responded: “hehe il [sic] fight u [sic] any day of the week if only you got stabbed in right place.”

In another post, Donnelly then added “fight me soon”, before he directed a racial slur toward Agyarko.

The Twitter account of Steven Donnelly is currently protected from public viewing, however the fighter has since posted an apology and deleted the tweet.

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"Listen, no excuse for the nonsense I said. I need proper help and in a bad place for a long time,” Steven Donnelly wrote on Twitter, before adding “sorry”.

On Tuesday Caoimhin Agyarko posted a further message on social media explaining he was “saddened” to have read the comments, but urged people not to send “hate” towards the rival boxer.

"From a fellow sports and Irishman I’m disappointed. If he wanted the fight there is other ways to build it,” wrote Caoimhin Agyarko.

"I’m on my own path and I won’t stop until I’m at the top, me and my team would like to ask all my friends, family and fans to not be shedding any hate on him.

"He’s clearly mentally not in the right head space, I hope he gets the help he needs. Thanks to everyone showing love and supporting me.”

The two boxers were familiar figures on the amateur circuit, having last met in 2017 when Donnelly came out on top in the Ulster Elite Senior Championships semi-final.

Agyarko is now signed with well-known boxing promoter Frank Warren, while Donnelly is a free agent having not fought since last March.

The comments from Ballymena boxer Donnelly drew significant criticism online, with former Premier League footballer and boxer Leon McKenzie writing: “Wouldn’t even give him the chance to fight now bro. Should be punished and in that time of not being able to fight have a look at himself.”

While Henry Joseph-Grant added: “Absolutely Disgusting mate. @Steven_Donnelly you should be ashamed of yourself.”

Donnelly won the Ultimate Boxxer tournament in London in 2019.

Last year he saw a big fight due to be broadcast on BT Sports with Frank Warren prospect Troy Williamson fall through due to the pandemic and previously said he was concentrating on his full-time job.

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