Unbeaten reigning Irish featherweight champion Eric Donovan (11-0) will have to keep his wits about him this weekend after being handed a tricky late change of opponent.
The Kildare southpaw headlines the big 'Celtic Clash 10' bill at The Devenish venue in Belfast this Saturday night [February 1st] and was due to face former Spanish super-bantamweight champion Cristian Montilla (9-4-1). However, his plans were thrown into disarray with news that Montilla withdrew from the bout.
Thankfully, a testing replacement has been sourced at extreme late notice and Donovan will now face tough Mexican Joseafat Reyes (8-11-1) instead in the eight-round top of the bill clash.
The Irish featherweight champion has been in camp with coach Kenny Egan since before Christmas preparing for Canary Islander Montilla, an orthodox fighter, but now must quickly change plans for his duel with southpaw slugger Reyes - his first ever Mexican opponent.
Reyes has caused shocks in the past, most notably derailing unbeaten prospect Israel Robles and defeating England's Brad Watson. Never knocked out, the 26-year-old has only lost to the very best - including world champions Paul Butler and Ryan Burnett as well as European champions Thomas Masson and Marc Vidal.
Donovan eagerly stated, "I've worked so hard for this, all is perfect, my prep, weight, conditioning, focus, I'm ready!"
On his change of opponent, he simply shrugged, "Curve balls are part and parcel of professional sport. You must adapt and overcome."
It will certainly be a tough outing for 34-year-old 'Lilywhite Lightning', who is kicking off a make-or-break year for his career. The former European amateur champion has set himself an ultimatum, stating that he will need to claim continental honours or enter the Top 15 of the world rankings inside the next 12 months or else he will draw his storied career to a close. His achievements include five Irish Elite titles, a bronze medal at the 2010 European Championships in Moscow, another bronze at the 2009 European Union Amateur Championships in Denmark, and he was one of six Irish boxers drafted in the 2012 season of the World Series of Boxing that won the overall team competition. Since turning professional he became the first boxer to win the BUI Celtic title inside five fights.
Next up on this journey is Josefat Reyes.
'Celtic Clash 10' also features 'The Butcher Boy' Francy Luzoho, Cavan light middle Dominic Donegan, Sligo Town welter Aaron Gethins, Kildare Town light welter Katelynn Phelan, Tramore super middle Rhys Moran, North Belfast light middle Owen O'Neill, Crumlin light middle Tony McGlynn, and Leixlip light welter Senan Kelly.