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On This Day: October 20th

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1962: In possible the biggest all-Irish fight ever, Belfast’s Johnny Caldwell and Freddie Gilroy did battle at the King’s Hall in front of 15,000 fans. Both bronze medalists at the 1956 Olympics (Caldwell at fly and Gilroy at bantam), the friendly rivals had both enjoyed success in the pros.

North Belfast’s Gilroy had won British, Commonwealth, and European honours at bantamweight before losing in a World title tilt to Algeria’s Alphonse Halimi in 1960 and losing his European belt to Belgian Pierre Cossemyns.

West Belfast’s Caldwell had won the British flyweight title before moving up to bantam and winning and defending the World title against Halimi in 1961 before losing in Brazil to Eder Jofre.

That night in Belfast the pair fought for Gilroy’s British and Commonwealth belts as well as a shot at Jofre’s title (which would never materialise).

The fight, which Caldwell felt he was winning, was stopped in the ninth due to cuts over Caldwell’s eyes and Gilroy would retain his title via technical knockout.

Gilroy retired following the bout, while Caldwell’s career would begin to wane to his scar-tissued eyes.

Watch Freddie Gilroy v Johnny Caldwell in full below:

1947: Rinty Monaghan won the vacant World flyweight title at Harringay Arena in London following a fifteen-round points win over Hawaiian Dado Marino. Monaghan had been controversially disqualified for holding in a non-title bout between the pair earlier that year in Glasgow, but there was to be no repeat this time round. With the win, Monaghan became the first Irishman based on this side of the Atlantic to hold a World title. The Belfast man defended the belt thrice, retiring as undefeated champion.

Katie Taylor stopped (via outpointing) Switzerland’s Sandra Brugger to win her third consecutive European Championships gold. The final was the Bray woman’s third stoppage win at the tournament having earlier had early finishes against Greek boxer Hristina Athanasopoulou and Spaniard Maria de la Guia, before a semi final 11:4 points win over Ukrainian Yana Zavyalova.

1909: Lisdeen’s Matthew ‘Nutty’ Curran knocked out Jack Ripper in the first round at the Empire Theatre in Dublin to win the Irish heavyweight title. The clash was a repeat of their non-title meeting that April, which the Clare man also won via a third round stoppage.

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