On This Day: October 31st

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1998: Wayne McCullough challenged for Prince Naseem Hamed’s WBO featherweight title at the Convention Centre in Atlantic City. The Belfast man would lose on the cards (112-116, 110-118, 111-117), but gave a hugely game performance and withstood the Sheffield man’s frightening punching power for the full twelve rounds, ending an eightenn-fight knockout streak.

Watch Naseem Hamed v Wayne McCullough in full below:

1961: Belfast’s Johnny Caldwell defended his World bantamweight title at the Empire Pool in Wembley with a fifteen-round points victory over Algerian Alphonse Halimi in a repeat of their title clash that May.

1961: On the undercard in London Cork’s Mick Leahy unsuccesfully challenged for the British and Commonwealth middleweight titles, being stopped in the eight by champion Brian Curvis.

1989: Belfast’s Ray Close knocked out Rocky McGran in the seventh round at the Ulster Hall to win the inaugural Irish super middleweight title.

1919: Dublin’s Tommy Donnelly retired in the seventh round to hand local fighter Johnny Smith the vacant Irish featherweight title at the Oisin Theatre in Clonmel. Earlier that month the pair had fought to a ten-round draw.

1902: Despite being outweighed by over two stone, Clare’s George Gardner lasted twenty rounds before losing on points to the legendary Jack Johnson. The Lisdoonvarna man was dropped in the eighth and the fourteenth but survived to see the final bell at the Woodward’s Pavilion in San Francisco.

2012: While it happened a few days before Hallowe’en night, Mick Conlan, Paddy Barnes, Tommy McCarthy, and Tyrone McKenna contributed to one of the funniest Irish boxing photos of recent memory, giving their take on the Spice Girls


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