OLYMPIAN Steven Donnelly insisted his vast amateur pedigree was to thank for this surge to glory in Ultimate Boxxer V. The two-time Commonwealth Games medalist, who represented Ireland at Rio 2016, was a big favourite to come out on top of the eight-man tournament at the Indigo venue inside the O2 Arena. And he proved the bookmakers right with a trio of impressive victories, two inside the distance, to claim the so-called “Golden Robe” and £16,000 in prize money.
In truth, the 31-year-old’s initial inclusion was a surprise and it was considered a major coup by Ultimate Boxxer to tempt a fighter of his calibre into the burgeoning format, which is usually populated by lesser-known men desperate for a break. Donnelly, for instance, was the only one of the eight with his own Wikipedia page.
But he decided the chance to add three more names to his record, a significant night’s earnings to his bank account and an appearance in a main event on BT Sport was too good to turn down. The decision was vindicated in style.