The Shamrock Express was once considered one of British boxing’s most exciting fighters during his world title reign in the 90’s. James Neary aka Shea Neary was pure box office, all his fights were real toe to toe wars, he made them that way, with his uncompromising come forward all action style.

His fights were beamed live on ITV prime time and then Sky Sports Box Office, he was big news and the most famous and respected sports person in Liverpool and considering the competition that says something.

After winning his WBU strap in Oct 1996 via a points decision against Darryl Tyson at the Everton Sports Centre, he went on to defend his title five times upto 2000, when he lost it to Micky Ward in another battle. That fight went on to be immortalised in the Hollywood movie, ‘The Fighter’ During his four year reign as champion, Shea defended against another local Liverpool world class light-welterweight Andy Holligan, an experienced fighter who previously Shea had been a sparring partner for.

The fight is now written firmly in Scouse fight folklore. Promoters the Hyland Brothers and Neil Munroe, had a 5500 seater marquee tent erected in Stanley Park in between the football grounds of Liverpool and Everton. It was March 1998 and the show named ‘The Nark in The Park’ was the hottest ticket in town. It was a night when the heavens opened and drenched the City, but the pugilistic God’s also bestowed upon the fans lucky enough to witness the occasion and a fight that lives in the memory and is still talked about when great domestic dustups are brought up.

Shea takes us back to that night and relives every moment. Shea retired from boxing in November 2000 after a controversial points defeat to Eamon Magee in Belfast for the Commonwealth title. Shea was disappointed at the decision and never laced the gloves up again in combat, happy walk away and never be tempted to return. He came conquered and left us wanting more. Boxing misses them swashbuckling days of The Shamrock Express and after he retired Shea was never to be seen again much in public. The Shamrock Express had left boxing town to work the railways down south for three years.

Last week we were invited to visit Shea at his Merseyside home and he gave us the honour of him telling us a full insight into his boxing career and reminisce on his life then, how he started boxing, joining the army, the fight with Ricky Hatton that never happened, his son now being an unbeaten pro boxer and current Commonwealth champion plus much much more. With the help of Tommy Dix a man who remembers Shea’s career like it was yesterday, he was with him and his team on the journey and takes us back to the 90’s and them halcyon boxing days.

Tommy and Shea are great friends and go back years. Tommy is also the man responsible for naming Shea ‘The Shamrock Express.’ he is someone Shea admires and has a lot of respect for. In our interview, Shea goes in-depth and details the key fights he had, the events surrounding them, before, during and after and why he turned away from the ring forever. This video is over 2 hours long and we hope you enjoy reliving the glory days with Shea, Tommy Dix and ourselves. Interview video by: Chris Maylett.

In this video we have used several clips of Shea’s fights that were already on YouTube. We do not claim any rights to the footage and have used it in good will, under ‘fair use’ both educational and historical.

Thanks for reading and watching our content, hope you come back soon. Please Follow us on Social Media for updates…


boxing #britishboxing


No more articles

Thanks for visiting us? Please spread the word :)