Donnelly relishing his Olympic dream

Steven Donnelly probably didn’t think the best week of his life could get any better, after securing qualification for next year’s Olympics.

All Saints Boxing Club members show their delight at the news that their star boxer Steven Donnelly is bound for next year's Olympics. INBT 50-176CS

That was until the Province’s world champion Carl Frampton stepped in to offer the Ballymena boxer two tickets for his eagerly-awaited unification clash with Scott Quigg.

“The main man Frampton wished me well on Twitter and told me he would keep me back two tickets for me and my girlfriend Sarah Louise.”

Sign up to our daily NorthernIrelandWorld Today newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

“He knew we had flights and accommodation sorted, so fair play to Carl,” said Steven, who has had a whirlwind week since his qualification for Rio was rubber-stamped by the International Olympic Committee.

Donnelly qualified by virtue of his placing in last year’s World Series of Boxing, in which he was promoted to one of the qualifying slots after results in the Russian national championships went in his favour and the Dunfane man is relishing the prospect of competing in Rio.

“It’s been a long story and I thought it wasn’t going to turn out in my favour but it has turned full circle so I’m over the moon.

“I was very close to giving it up - I told my girlfriend and everyone that I was finished and was going to look for a job.

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet. I know it’s great thinking about the Olympics, the buzz, the opening ceremony and all that.

When you think about the boxers who have been to the Olympics and now they are world professional champions, just to be in that calibre is great,” added Donnelly.