1982: Future World champion Barry McGuigan defeated Nigerian Young Ali at the World Sporting Club in a fight that had a tragic ending. ‘The Clones Cyclone’ knocked his African opponent out in the sixth round, and Ali slipped into a coma soonafter, eventually passing away on December 13th 1982.
The fight had a huge effect on McGuigan and he would tearfully dedicate his famous World title win against Eusebio Pedroza to Ali:
The Hall of Fame fighter later reflected “I still think of Young Ali every day, wondering about his wife and child.”
“It had a dramatic effect on me. I really didn’t want to fight on but I did, and in my next fight I honestly pulled my punches.”
“I had the guy in trouble and he was expecting me to finish him off but instead I hesitated and he nearly took my head off with a left hook.”
“I realised I had to get the job done but I cried in the dressing room afterwards.”
2003: Eamonn Magee Jr failed in his bid to win the European light welterweight title. The Terminator travelled to Germany to take on Hamburg’s Oktay Urkal, and had the reigning champ down in the 10th, but would lose a close but clear unanimous decision at the Bordelandhalle in Magdeburg. In Urkal, Belfast man Magee faced a foe whose only career losses would come against Kostya Tzsyu, Miguel Cotto, and Viv Harris.