Barry McGuigan talks to Steve Bunce

Former world featherweight champion Barry McGuigan as now thrown his hat into the boxing promotion ring, signing up the highly regarded Carl Frampton, he has announced that his first professional show will be at the Ulster Hall in Belfast on September 18.

LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 12:  Carl Frampton ...
Carl Frampton

According to McGuigan the September 18 card will also feature Prizefighter winner Willie ‘Big Bang’ Casey, and this will be the first of six shows he will promote over the next 12 months. 

Speaking to and also Steve Bunce (live recording above) McGuigan said, “We will be promoting six shows over the next year and all will be broadcast by Setanta Sports (Ireland), providing a wonderful platform for the best young boxers to showcase their talents to a large audience.

“The first bill will be headlined by Belfast’s Carl Frampton who I believe has the tools to go all the way. He can box, he can fight and he is getting better and better with every outing. We would like to push him into championship class as soon as possible.

“The September 18th card also features Prize-fighter champion Willie Casey from Limerick, who is one of the most exciting fighters on the scene at the minute.”

Barry McGuigan
McGuigan welcomed home after becoming world champion

In 1985 more than 19 million people tuned in to watch Barry McGuigan step into the Loftus Road ring to face Eusebio Pedrosa for the WBA featherweight crown. It was the first outside broadcast at a live fight by the BBC.

The audience it drew remains a British record for a live boxing event. We marvelled at the courage and commitment of the Clones Cyclone, and the way he united the factions in Northern Ireland.
McGuigan was given a hero’s welcome on his return to Belfast, Dublin and Clones and even getting back to his West End hotel after the fight, crowds banged on the side of the van. Phil Coulter, renowned songwriter, musician and entrepreneur, sat beside the new champion. His advice to him was: “Enjoy it all. Take it all in now and hang on to it, believe me it won’t last.”

Belfast became a temple of communal worship on fight night for a territory divided the rest of the week, McGuigans first defence of his title was against American Bernard Taylor at the City’s King’s Hall, stopping his unbeaten challenger in round five, McGuigan’s reception that night on his home coming was legendery.

Hostillities were high in  Northern Ireland then and sectarian violence dominated the news, McGuigan however brought the people of Ireland together with one common goal to support there home boy.

“Boxing is a brutal business. I admire the courage of fighters, their tenacity and commitment. Boxing was good to me. I believe I did things right. I want to get across to kids that if you do things the right way you can have a fantastic life through boxing, the life that I have had, if you like.

”I had to navigate my way through a troubled time in Ireland. There were a lot of human lessons in that. I learned to grow up in boxing.

“I have a lot of very special memories fighting in the Ulster Hall – particularly winning the British title against Vernon Penprase in 1983, defending it and the European title against Clyde Ruan in 1984. There is always a special atmosphere for boxing and since they have done it up it looks stunning as well.

“The life of a boxer is educational. In my case in Northern Ireland it took on an even more important dimension because of the politics. But apart from that it teaches you to be a man.” 

We wish Barry the best of luck with his boxing promotions and if he can be has succsessful a promoter has he was a fighter and boxing pundit, we are in for some good nights ahead in the name of Barry McGuigan promotions.

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