16 April 2009 – By Jonny Stapleton
He has boxed on the biggest stage in world sport, the Olympics, fought for numerous titles in a distinguished 250-fight amateur career and entered the squared circle 17 times as a paid professional, but Francie Barrett has never worked harder for a fight night than he has for this Saturdays Pro boxing night in Leisureland, Galway.
Nor has he been more nervous prior to a bout.
The former Olympic hero is making a welcome return to boxing this weekend. He will not, however, enter the ring but will instead don a well-pressed promoters suit rather than the gloves and shorts he is so accustomed too.
Barrett, a former Irish champion at both junior and senior level, makes his professional promoting debut as he co-promotes the Salthill-based show with Keith Walker under the new Southpaw Promotions banner.
And the 33-year-old retired fighter claims although he has enjoyed working outside of the gym he has found it more demanding than in-ring fight preparations.
This is the first show I have ever done and I wouldnt be able to do it with out Keith Walker, Barrett admitted.
I am really excited about it and happy with how things have gone so far. I am also nervous, in fact I am more nervous than I was before any fight I ever had. I have worked harder getting this show ready than any other fight too.
“I knew it was going to be hard work but it has been tough. With fighting you just have to worry about getting in shape and preparing for your opponent in this game you have to organise a venue, fighters, talk with the Boxing Union and lots more.
We know from his fighting days though that Barrett isnt afraid of hard work, and he seems to be dealing with the stress promoting prompts in the same manner he dealt with the bruises boxing brought.
And already it looks like he has helped organise a successful show.
Barretts involvement has ensured massive press interest – both local and national – and tickets for the show, which will be headlined by his undefeated cousin, Colman Barrett, have sold steadily.
There is a lot of interest in the show. We have been contacted by media all over the country,” he enthused.
“You cant pick up a paper or turn on a radio in the West without reading or hearing about it. Ticket sales are going well and it is going to be a great night.
“There is a good bit of excitement amongst boxing fans its great to have a show in Galway for local fans. We have worked hard to make it entertaining we have brilliant fights.
“We also have singers and some dancers but there will be some great fights. he added.
The Southpaw-promoted, Leisureland-hosted April 18 show will see John Waldron take on Danny Cousin, Colm Keane fight John Anthony, Carl Drake face Lee Murtagh, Gavin Prunty meet Ibrar Ryaz and Colman Barrett headline in a bout with Vlado Sabo.