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Limerick boxing sensation signs major deal with Bob Arum's Top Rank, and will have Andy Lee in his corner

Paddy Donovan, 20, will be trained and managed by the former middleweight world champion.

Paddy Donovan (L) with Andy Lee.
Paddy Donovan (L) with Andy Lee.
Image: Paddy Donovan (paddy_donovan_)

FORMER JUNIOR WORLD silver medalist and 13-time Irish champion Paddy Donovan has signed a multi-year professional contract with Bob Arum’s Top Rank.

A product of the Our Lady of Lourdes club in Limerick, Donovan will be guided in the punch-for-pay ranks by a fellow Treaty man: former WBO World middleweight champion Andy Lee will both train and manage the 20-year-old.

Donovan will compete in the welterweight division.

“I’m honoured to sign with Top Rank,” he said. “They are the best in boxing.

“My goal is to become a world champion, and there is no one better than Top Rank to help me achieve my goal.”

Patrick Donovan Paddy Donovan in action during the 2019 Irish Senior Elite final at 69kg. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Added Lee, who it’s understood was instrumental in negotiating the deal:

Paddy is a special talent. He has all the skills and character to become a world champion. Top Rank’s record of taking amateur boxers and guiding them into world champions is second to none. We couldn’t be with a better company.

A debut date for Donovan will be announced “shortly”, his new promoters have confirmed.

The Munsterman has, for some time, been considered by many as the most gifted young boxer in the country.

A slick, stylish southpaw with blistering hand speed and Matrix-like reflexes, Donovan clocked up 161 wins as an amateur, losing only a handful.

One of these defeats came in this year’s Irish Senior Elite Championships 69kg final where, in the indisputable fight of the night and a dazzling display of boxing across the board, the then-19-year-old was edged by another prodigiously talented youngster, Kieran Molloy (20) of Galway’s Oughterard BC.

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Kieran Molloy and Patrick Donovan Paddy Donovan throws a left hand at Kieran Molloy during their enthralling national decider. Source: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

Molloy will now pursue the Olympic dream when qualification begins under IOC control early next year, while Donovan has opted instead to ditch the vest and enter the paid ranks with one of the three largest promotional companies in the world.

Donovan is one of four Irish fighters currently on Arum and Top Rank’s books, the other three being Carl Frampton, Ryan Burnett and Michael Conlan — the latter of whom previously tipped him as a future Olympic gold medalist.

As well as winning everything at national level in the underage ranks and Junior World silver in St Petersburg in 2015, Donovan has twice won the Haringey Box Cup — one of the most prestigious amateur tournaments on this side of the Atlantic.

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