Underdog McAfee: I'm ready to risk it all
In less than two years, Stephen McAfee (5(2)-0-1) has established himself as a fan favourite in Irish boxing and become known as one of the bravest and most exciting fighters on the scene.
The former top kickboxer only turned pro in May 2017 but was fighting other Irish opposition in his third fight, boxing for a title in his fourth, accepted an Irish title fight in his sixth, and will finally box for the prestigious green strap in his seventh.
Careers, especially for fighters with a limited amateur background like McAfee, do not usually progress like this.
Having seen an Irish super featherweight title fight with Feargal McCrory fall through in November, the Dubliner now gets his chance at the end of the month.
On Saturday, March 30 at the National Stadium in Dublin, McAfee will drop down in weight to take on Eric Donovan in the headline fight of the ground-breaking Assassin Promotions and Boxing Ireland Promotions 'Clash of the Titans' card, which will be shown live on TG4.
Never one to turn down a fight, 27-year-old McAfee knows he is an underdog but feels that taking the fight was a no-brainer.
"There is no doubt it's a risky and tough fight, but life is about taking risks. If you don't, you won't get to where you want to be.
"I know the rewards are massive. I'll jump up the ladder again. It's a short time in boxing so we took the offer as soon as we got it.
"I have gotten to where I am in such a short space of time, just six fights," he said.
"I am going to keep with that winning mentality. I didn't think that I'd come this far in such a short space of time. I'll fight anyone, I've done that my whole career in whatever sport I'm in, kickboxing, boxing, I never turn fights down. I just do my training and fight."
Donovan's CV is impressive. Like McAfee at super featherweight, the Kildare southpaw holds the BUI Celtic title at featherweight, but it is his achievements as an amateur that stand out. He won both European and EU bronze as well as five Elite Irish titles during a glittering career.
However, the outsider tag suits McAfee and he is confident of a scalp against a 33-year-old fighter returning from an injury-ravaged 2018.
McAfee said: "The pressure is all on him. I am going in there thinking I can win the fight. I don't mind being the underdog - for once."