Limerick boxer Paddy Donovan to enter ring again after tragedy-filled 2021
"2021 was a very difficult year for me personally."
If Tyson Fury is the Gypsy King, then Ireland's Paddy Donovan is the Gypsy Prince, as he is fighting his way through the rankings at an impressive rate.
The young boxer from Limerick is currently undefeated with seven wins to his name, and will be looking to continue that run when he fights Miroslav Serban tonight, on the Josh Taylor vs Jack Catterall undercard.
With boyish good looks, a Hollywood smile, and two fists that quite literally pack a punch, you would be forgiven for being envious of the young Irishman, but Donovan has had to overcome some real controversy in the last 12 months.
Although 2021 was a good year from a career point of view - especially with his impressive win over Jose Luis Castillo - in Belfast's Falls Park - he had to overcome personal tragedy outside of the ring.
"I know I'm good enough to perform at the highest level, I'm absolutely flying in training camp, and sparring brilliant, so I can't complain.
"2021 was a very difficult year for me personally, I lost my best friend (28) and my first cousin (25) to suicide. So it was a bit of a downer, but I got back up, regrouped, got back in the gym, trained very hard, and now I'm here, and I'm very excited.
"I'm really feeling good, and I'm going to put on a show here in front of the crowd in Scotland, so I just can't wait now, I'm going to leave my name flinging around the stadium come Saturday night."
Donovan is also in the hugely advantageous situation of being coached by Andy Lee, a fellow Irishman and former world champion.
Lee is renowned for his vicious left hook and boxing knowledge, and has begun to really build up his pedigree as a trainer, coaching some huge stars like former heavyweight world champion Joseph Parker, and of course Tyson Fury.
"It's great training with Andy, he's absolutely brilliant. He's a man with many talents, now he's a coach and he's giving what he learned in the past and dropping it down to me.
"I'm like a sponge, I'm absorbing everything. I enjoy being in his company, we're great friends, we get on so well, and long may it continue."
Pieta’s professional counsellors specialise in suicide prevention and tackling self-harm. The charity has centres all over Ireland and Pieta’s Freephone Crisis Helpline is open 24/7. All services are provided free of charge and no referral is needed. For more information and help visit www.pieta.ie