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Jamie Conlan: The Irish Gatti

On Saturday night, having just watched the Belfast super flyweight Jamie Conlan stop South Shields’ Anthony Nelson midway through the eighth round of a barnstorming Commonwealth title fight, I felt moved to tweet that we Irish and British fight fans now have our own Arturo Gatti to enjoy, a boxer seemingly determined to produce movie […]

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Ray, Jake & the St Valentine’s Day Massacre

The numbers and statistics that can be pulled from the great Sugar Ray Robinson’s record are truly extraordinary. A rapid and exemplary 85 and 0 amateur career preceded exactly 200 professional bouts, spread thick and heavy across a full quarter of a century. In that time he took on all-comers, from 129lb featherweights to 173lb […]

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The Gypsy who would be King

In the build up to the biggest night of Billy Joe Saunders’ career, I travelled to Hatfield and Marbella to talk Travellers, discrimination, the Irish, bare-knuckle boxing and fighting Andy Lee with the pride of the Romani Gypsy community The taxi driver eyes me suspiciously in his rear-view mirror as we cruise along the leafy […]

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The Sergio Prado Interview

When Jon Slowey withdrew from Friday night’s All On The Line card in the Waterfront Hall, it looked like the Marco McCullough curse was still going strong. The likeable Shankill featherweight hasn’t had the best of luck in 2015, with injuries, cancellations and shock defeats combining to make this year look like one he’d quickly […]

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The Conrad Cummings Interview

On the eve of the biggest fight of his life, I tracked down unbeaten middleweight prospect Conrad Cummings at his London training camp. There’s a likeability about Barry McGuigan’s 7 and 0 middleweight prospect, Conrad Cummings. Time in his company gives you a strong sense that what you see is what you get with the […]

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The Josh Taylor Interview

Five or six years ago, Barry McGuigan was telling anyone who would listen about a kid he had that was going to take over the world. “Calm down Barry,” we all thought, “go easy on the hyperbole.” That kid’s name was Carl Frampton, the current IBF super bantamweight champion of the world. Today McGuigan is […]

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A Portrait of the Fighter as a Young Man

When we watch prize fighting, we see only the final external product of the two protagonists, and the feats or flaws we witness in the ring are almost exclusively physical in nature.  But at the elite level of boxing, a point where athletic excellence and intense dedication are a given, internal factors are often what differentiates the combatants: it is what they have or feel […]

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From Belfast to Banús: Jamie Conlan is Primed for the Big Time

“He’ll be a world champion within two years.  I’m absolutely certain.” Boxing trainer Danny Vaughan, a softly spoken Liverpudlian with over 20 years’ experience in the sport, is not one for hyperbole so when he tells me this, I know he believes it. The subject is his newest charge, Jamie Conlan, and we are standing […]

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Luke Keeler: The Prizefighter

There will be no love lost inside Blackpool’s Winter Gardens this Valentine’s night as the latest instalment of the Prizefighter series hits England’s answer to Atlantic City.  Barry Hearn’s innovative one night, eight man, twenty-one round shoot-out returns in its 35th incarnation and this time it will be a merry band of middleweights vying for […]

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A Boy Named Steve Collins Jr

Ireland was a great place to be back in the mid-1990s.  World Cup qualification and Eurovision hegemony appeared a given, while the roar of a green, white and gold Celtic Tiger was ushering in an unparalleled, though ultimately arenaceous, period of economic growth and prosperity. Amidst the revelry, a Celtic Warrior rode the crest of […]

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Anto Connolly: Minimum Weight, Maximum Potential

It takes no great time, effort nor Poirot-esque powers of deduction, to pinpoint Anto Connolly’s three priorities in life.  In a very particular order they are as follows: family (partner Dee and young boys, Wyatt and Fionn), craft (professional boxer) and football team (Glasgow Celtic). The first literally screams out its presence to me from […]

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Jamie Conlan: The Calm Before & After the Storm

Before The folly of conflating the combatant and non-combatant shades of a boxer’s character is regularly lost on those not involved in the sport.  That fighters can be so brutal inside the ring and so gentle out is still viewed as a delightful paradox by many who, I can only presume, believe that boxers live […]

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The Carl Frampton Interview

I catch Carl Frampton just after 9pm on a Wednesday evening as he crosses the River Thames heading towards his temporary home in that most affluent of London boroughs, Kensington and Chelsea.  He is acclimatised now to the rarefied air breathed in by the Dukes, Earls and Knights listed as notable residents of the area, […]

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The Kiko Martínez Interview

The sleepy Valencian pueblo of Torrellano nestles inconspicuously between Alicante and Elche in south eastern Spain.  With just 7,000 inhabitants and little to write home about, it is a small, rather unremarkable, one-horse town on the inner fringes of the Costa Blanca: but what a thoroughbred the sole caballo that resides there is. I meet the […]