Boxing exhibition open

5 September 2010

A new boxing exhibition, telling the story of some of Belfast most accomplished boxers was officially opened in Belfast City Hall, by Hollywood star Liam Neeson on Sunday.

Neeson, was in the city as a patron of a new initiative known as The Belfast Boxing Ring a committee chaired by former Belfast Lord Mayor Alex Maskey and set up with the aim of commissioning a series of statues and plaques recognising the sports contribution to Belfast.

Neeson, himself a former amateur boxer who fought for the Ballymena All-Saints Club, also took the opportunity to have his picture taken with Belfast fight legend Freddie Gilroy. Over 40 years ago as a young amateur fighter Neeson was photographed meeting his hero when Gilroy reigned as British Champion.

Ballymena-born Neeson, 58, cut the ribbon at the launch of the Belfast Boxing Rings exhibition which will show off some never-seen-before images of boxers and memorable moments in Belfasts boxing history.

Neeson said, It is an honour to be invited to become a patron of Belfast Boxing Ring and I support the aim of the committee to have the sport recognised in the city. Boxing has played such an important role in the development of Belfast throughout difficult times and has a huge part to play in the future.

Boxing legend Freddie Gilroy said, Its an honour to have met Liam after all these years. I believe it was 47 years ago that Liam and I were pictured together and now we have a then and now picture which I will treasure. Liam is a wonderful man.

The Belfast Boxing Ring is an initiative recognised by Belfast City Council and formed by ex-Lord Mayor of the city, Alex Maskey, who is also a former amateur boxer.

The Belfast Boxing Ring Committee includes Mr Harry Doherty, Mr Eamon McAuley, Mr Barry Flynn, Mr Alex McGreevy and Mr David Larmour.

Neeson met with the committee at Belfast City Hall yesterday to confirm his patronage of the Belfast Boxing Ring.

Alex Maskey, who as an amateur boxer shared fight cards with Neeson, said, The story of Belfast would not be complete without recognising the huge contribution made to the life of the city by all those involved in boxing.

The achievements of our boxing fraternity have been legendary and continue to provide us with untold enjoyment combined with a great sense of pride.

We are rightly proud of the rich contribution boxing has made to the sporting, cultural, and community wellbeing of our city. Belfast Boxing Ring will celebrate and pay tribute to those past and present by commissioning a series of statues and plaques to be erected around our city.

The Belfast Boxing Ring exhibition opens to the public on Tuesday, September 7 and will remain open until the end of September.

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