20 February 2010 – By Cormac Campbell
Bernard Dunne has announced his decision to retire from boxing.
The former WBA World and European super-bantamweight champion made the news public at a press briefing on Friday evening in Dublin.
After enjoying a tremendous amateur career, in which he was never defeated on home soil, Dunne turned professional in 2001 serving his professional apprenticeship in Los Angeles under the tutelage of legendary coach Freddie Roach. In 2005, under the guidance of Promoter Brian Peters, he returned home to Ireland to kickstart a stagnant domestic scene.
By defeating Jim Betts in the ring at Dublins National Stadium, Dunne had done more than just bringing professional boxing back to the Irish capital he had managed to entice National Broadcaster RTE back into the sport after an absence of more than a decade.
Basing himself in Belfasts Holy Trinity gym, Dunne quickly cut a swathe through the European scene defeating Englishman Esham Pickering to lift the European crown at a packed Point Depot in November 2006.
A shocking first round defeat to Kiko Martinez in his third EBU defence in August of the following year derailed Team Dunnes best laid plans but the Dubliner showed true grit to go back to the drawing board. Upon returning to action Dunne elected to bypass the European scene in search of his sports ultimate prize.
In March 2009 on the same day that Irelands rugby team won the Six Nations Championship Dunne defeated Ricardo Cordoba of Panama to lift the WBA World title infront of a full house at the new O2 Arena.
Dunnes reign was to prove short-lived, suffering a third round defeat to powerpunching Thai Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym in September at the O2.
Despite the defeat, Dunne was named boxer of the year at Januarys Bogart Menswear National Boxing Awards. At the event Dunnes coach Harry Hawkins had promised, An announcement within weeks, on the Dubliners future.
Few believed this announcement would be one of retirement. A career in the Fire Service and indeed the media appears to await but one wonders if aged just 30, retirement is a decision Dunne will later reassess.
Should he remain in retirement Dunne can rest content in the knowledge that he achieved all there is to in his chosen field. As well as climbing to the top of his sport, Dunne developed a following that transcended the sports traditional fanbase earning him fame and fortune.
For all his success, Dunne remained grounded, shunning the celebrity circuit to cultivate an image as a hardworking family man the perfect role model for any young boxer.