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How Irish boxers have fared against Belgium

The Boys in Green have their second game at the European Championships this afternoon in Bourdeaux.

Knowing that a win will all-but secure them a place in the Round of 16, Martin O’Neill’s men take on Belgium at the Stade de Bordeaux.

Ahead of the crucial match, irish-boxing.com takes a look at a handful of Ireland-Belgium fights.

In 2014 Jamie Conlan claimed the WBO European super flyweight title with a stoppage of Benjamin Smoes at the Odyssey, battering the Belgian to the floor at the end of the sixth before finishing the fight early in the seventh.

Barry McGuigan, following a shock (later avenged) early career loss, returned to the ring for his fourth professional fight against Jean-Marc Renard at the Ulster Hall. The Clones Cyclone would recover from a seventh round knockdown (which was missed by the referee) to score an eight-round win (79-78) and both boxers would go on to have successful careers. Renard would later win and defend European titles at both super featherweight and featherweight before unsuccessfully challenging for the WBA featherweight title, once held by McGuigan, in 1989.

In 1947 Belgian bantamweight champion Joe Cornelis came to Belfast and took on home favourite, and reigning Irish and Northern Irish champ, Bunty Doran, stopping him in the sixth round due to cuts at the Kings Hall.

While not a particularly notable bout, the South African-born Irish Eddie Maguire lost a fifteen round decision to three-weight European champion Gustave Roth in London in 1933. What is peculiar about the clash is that the referee Bob Smythe collapsed dead during the fifth round. In what were hardier times, a replacement was quickly found and the bout continued.

And finally, we must mention a brilliant little anecdote from Brian Flynn’s ‘Little Book of Irish Boxing.’ Back in 1942 a man named Sam Gerauni from the then-Belgian colonial possession of Congo managed to convince locals in Limerick that he was the legendary Joe Louis, prompting melees in the town with people trying to grab a glimpse of the heavyweight legend.

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