DECEMBER saw super featherweight warriors Stephen McAfee and Colin O’Donovan fight to a bloodstained stand-still on Celtic Clash 4 at the National Stadium in Dublin.
The sixth and final round has already become a cult classic among boxing fans, a thrilling toe-to-toe three minutes that will live long in the memory.
The fight quickly exploded into one of the best fights of the year, with the crowd still on their feet and cheering the pair the fight was ruled a draw. It immediately topped of every boxing fan’s wish-list for 2018. Now the fight has been given the platform it deserves.
On Saturday March 24, the pair will face-off once again. The bout headlines Celtic Clash 5 fight night, run by Boxing Ireland Promotions and Tony Davitt Promotions in association with Dublin Plumbing and Gas.
This time, the setting is Good Counsel GAA club in Drimnagh and it takes pride of place as the main attraction over eight rounds for the BUI Celtic super featherweight title.
While there may be bigger names and bigger venues, this fight has really captured the imagination of domestic boxing fans.
A well-worn cliché in boxing is that there are no guarantees in the fight game. This is not entirely true, because ‘McAfee v O’Donovan 2’ is a definite war that is certain to pick up right where the first fight ended.
McAfee [2(2)-0-1] was the hot prospect and hot favourite ahead of the first fight. The swaggering Sallynoggin slugger had scored two highlight-reel knockouts in his opening two fights.
O’Donovan [1(1)-1(1)-1] on the other hand hadn’t garnered the same attention. The Youghal-based fighter seen as an ‘on-the-road’ boxer, taking short notice bouts as the underdog. And the first McAfee fight was no different with The Rebel Rouser agreeing to the fight just seven days beforehand.
McAfee was left disgusted by the 58-58 drawn verdict. Caught somewhat off guard by just how game O’Donovan was, the 26-year-old was not happy with his performance.
That said, he was even less happy with the scoreline and looking back recalls how “I was disappointed I didn’t get the win – I felt like I did. After then, when I went home and I watched it, I definitely thought it.
“I’ve been in plenty of wars before. That’s nothing new. I want to correct what was given the last time.
“This time out I know more, I’ve been in the ring with him, I’ll be able to work more with him, on stances, his hands, and the bit of awkwardness he has. I didn’t know that the first time – I know now – and I’ll be working on it and I’ll be ready!”
A full undercard will also feature on the night including Ballybrack lightweight Niall O’Connor, Crumlin lightweight Martin Quinn, and Cavan light middleweight Owen Duffy.
Tickets start from €15 via the Boxing Ireland Promotions Facebook page.