Both of Ireland’s Top Rank fighters have come out in defense of Bob Arum.
Speaking after Michael Conlan had defeated Vladimir Nikitin in Madison Square Garden on Saturday night the 88-year-old claimed he is was looking forward to the Belfast fighter returning to the ring at the same venue in March – and got criticism for discussing the possibility of playing ‘IRA Songs’.
The 88-year-old said he “gets a kick” from Belfast fighter Michael Conlan entering the ring to a rebel song that prompts and IRA chant and added “we’ll maybe play an IRA song to get everybody excited back in Ireland” in relation to a Conlan’s St Patrick’s Day return.
“He’s going to do it in the theatre of Madison Square Garden and it’s during the week, St Patrick’s Day … and the whole place will be green and we’ll maybe play maybe an IRA song to get everybody excited back in Ireland,” said the American.
Arum has since said sorry for his comments, revealing they were ‘ill-informed and ill-advised’.
His Top Rank fighters Carl Frampton and Conlan have both defend the promoter to a degree.
Both agreed the comments were offensive, but both also suggested they were not malicious.
“I can understand how Bob’s comments have caused offence – however, I don’t think there was any malice behind what he said,” Conlan said.
“While I don’t believe he meant to cause any harm, I welcome his apology.”
Frampton said: “While Bob’s comments were offensive, I feel they were made out of a lack of knowledge regarding the complexities of our country. I do not believe they were malicious in nature.
“Boxing has always been a sport that has helped unite our people and divisive statements should be kept away from it.”