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On This Day: June 9th

1897: Two Irish heavyweight World champions (albeit disputed and disregarded) met in the ring. Dundalk’s Tom Sharkey and Galway’s Peter Maher both briefly held recognition in 1896 and 1895 respectively during the brief initial retirement of James J Corbett.

The pair fought at the Palace Athletic Club in New York (pictures) in front of a 10,000-strong crowd which was interrupted by the police and declared a draw by the referee after seven rounds. The opening five rounds were quiet before Sharkey hurt and cut Maher in the sixth. The seventh saw Maher floored before a hugely controversial ending that saw both boxers arrested. The Brooklyn Eagle described how “Maher hit Sharkey at the bell ending the seventh round. Sharkey was like a wild bull, he had clinched and several seconds after the bell hit Maher with three right hand blows to the head. Maher landed one in return, there was a wild scene with Sharkey hitting one of Maher’s seconds in the head.”

2010: Eric Donovan guaranteed himself bronze at the European Championships in Moscow. ‘The Lilywhite Lightning,’ who makes his pro debut later this month, beat Dane Rashid Kassem (10:2) and Ukrainian Dmytro Bulenkov (10:2) en-route to the medal fight where he overcame Hungary’s Miklos Varga (10:4). Donovan would lose in the semi-final to eventual gold medalist Albert Selimov (2:8) who fought for Russia at that time.

Joe O'Neill

Reporting on Irish boxing the past five years. Work has appeared on irish-boxing.com, Boxing News, the42.ie, and local and national media. Provide live ringside updates, occasional interviews, and special features on the future of Irish boxing. email: joneill6@tcd.ie