| 5.9°C Belfast

Steven Donnelly: I'll only box again for the right reward - I'm an Olympian and I know my worth


Steven Donnelly

Steven Donnelly

Steven Donnelly

Unbeaten Steven Donnelly had hopes that 2020 was going to be a huge year for him but coronavirus put that on the backburner.

The 2016 Olympian, who has chalked up nine straight wins as a professional, has found his career on lockdown due to the impact of the virus and wonders if his ring career is slowly coming to an end. Instead of preparing for a fight that could kick-start his career, Donnelly has been working full-time for LCL/Morrow Contracts for a number of months and admits "the money is a lot better".

Last September, Ballymena man Donnelly won the Ultimate Boxer tournament in emphatic fashion and the 32-year-old light-middleweight was convinced it would lead to bigger nights but then Covid intervened just as he was preparing for a IBF European title fight with Troy Williamson.

"I was really gutted when the fight with Troy had to be postponed. It was a tough time and it got to the point where I was lying about the house not doing much so when the chance came for a full-time job with LCL/Morrow I went for it. I started off mending manholes and for the past while I am on the sewers team so we go all over the country fixing the pipes," said Donnelly.

"It came at the right time because nothing was happening with my boxing and although I miss it I'm not sure if I will be back in the ring.

"The bottom line is that if I go back into the ring I want to be paid well because that is what professional boxing is about. When people say they fight for belts, I don't believe them. I know my worth, I'm an Olympian for goodness sake.

"I would hope that the fight with Troy Williamson is still there but we will see. The clock is ticking because I'm 32. I still feel I have a lot to offer but it has to make sense because I have a family to look after."

While he ponders whether or not an opportunity to return to the ring will present itself, Donnelly is grateful - particularly in the current climate - to have a steady income.

Donnelly added: "These are tough times so I am thankful to Marty and Paddy Lynch of LCL and John Morrow for this job. My fiancée has a great personal training business and she works with the partner of Marty Lynch and they said they had work for me. At first I wondered if I could do it - I'd never done anything like it or even driven a van before. Now I'm like Lewis Hamilton! Only joking…

"The job suits me down to the ground - it's a lot different to training every day but then the regular money means that I can plan things with Sarah-Louise and there is some security there, which in this day and age means a lot.

"If my boxing career was to end I have achieved my boyhood dream - I became an Olympian.

"I also won six Ulster senior titles at four different weights which nobody else has done and I've been to three Commonwealth Games. But if there is a real opportunity to have some big fights then of course I would go for it."

Sunday Life