This was an era when British boxing didn’t have the numerous world champions in most weight divisions, ruling the pugilistic planet.
It was Saturday night, June 8th, 1985, at Queen’s Park Rangers’ football stadium Loftus Road when Barry McGuigan challenged the Panamanian Eusebio Pedroza for the WBA featherweight championship.
The brilliant Pedroza, who had successfully defended his title 19 times, was champion for 11-years and was regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters around. McGuigan had his work cut out in a lot of experts’ opinions, if he was to become Ireland first world champion in 35 years.
The 27,000 fans who attended made the atmosphere literary fever pitch. The constant cheers of ‘Barry, Barry’ rung out and when the fighters made their ring walk they could barely manoeuvre through the hordes of excited fight fans.
A leprechaun danced in front of the Belfast boxers contingent. Hired from a local circus, dressed in green folklore attire and wearing a bowler hat, he performed cartwheels and threw green dust at the Pedroza corner pretending to cast a spell on the opposition.
It took Barry 11 minutes all to just get to the ring! Once they were eventually in the squared circle and facing each other in a stare off, if things couldn’t get more nostalgic, Barry’s father Pat broke into song with a beautiful rendition of ‘Danny Boy’ during the preliminaries.
This was an era when British boxing didn’t have the numerous world champions in most weight divisions, ruling the pugilistic planet. World champs were few and far between, although we had our numerous successes on the world stage, Barry had a chance to become an household name as the broadcast went live to the world on terrestrial tv.
The first bell rang, this was Barry McGuigan’s big chance!
If you don’t want to know what happened in the fight and want to watch the whole broadcast including ringwalk, WATCH the full video is above.
McGuigan came close to a knock-out in the 7th round when he caught Pedrosa with a big right, left hook, and the champion went down but got up bravely to fight on and try cling to his world crown.
The Panamanian was again hurt in the 9th but but refused to submit to defeat. At the end of the 14th and penultimate round Paddy Byrne, Barry’s cut man, bellowed to him as he went out for the 15th and final round: “You have three minutes to beat the best featherweight champion this century. In three minutes you will be champion of the world.” Barry heeded the words of encouragement and finished strongly to put no doubt in the mind of even the most cynical of judges.
McGuigan, took the title on a unanimous points decision over 15 non-stop rounds, earning one of the biggest wins in one of the best fights fought in a British ring during the 20th century.
McGuigan had produced a devastating performance which added his name to the history books alongside the likes of the greats, Randolph Turpin, John Conteh, Ken Buchanan and the rest.
Remembering the night at Loftus Road when Barry McGuigan beat long reigning WBA featherweight champion, Eusebio Pedroza.
LATEST BBTV VIDEOS
SUBSCRIBE TO OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL HERE: https://www.youtube.com/britishboxersuk