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Ranking the top 5 Irish boxers of all-time

Ireland has a long history in the fight game. Whether it is boxers who have come from Ireland or those who have family lineage from the country, Ireland has made a large impression on the sport. Boxing fans can click here to get the latest promo codes ahead of the weekend’s fight action. The number of past and present Irish boxers raises the question over which Irishman is the best of all-time. From featherweights to bantamweights, Irish fighters have racked up wins in some of the sport’s most memorable bouts. So being a college student I even wanted to write my paper about it but didn’t have a chance.

With recent news that famed boxer Carl Frampton wants to extend his fight career, he may end as the country’s greatest of all-time. Until then, where does he rank on the top 5 Irish boxers of all-time list?

  1. Wayne McCullough

wayne mccullough

Wayne McCullough had a phenomenal boxing career in which he won an Olympic medal and title belts. McCullough turned professional in 1993, just one year after winning silver at the Barcelona Olympics. The new MyBookie sign up offer gives fight fans the chance to follow all the biggest matches this year. “The Pocket Rocket” registered a record of 27-7 with 18 KOs. In 1995, McCullough won the WBC World Bantamweight title by defeating Yasuei Yakushiji in Japan. He followed up the win with three successful title defences.

  1. Jack “Nonpareil” Dempsey


Jack “Nonpareil” Dempsey recorded a 51-4-11 record achieving 23 KOs. Dempsey went long stretches without defeat, and according to legend, two of his losses came in fixed matches. Although born in Ireland, it was the United States where Dempsey achieved boxing success. Dempsey only lived until the age of 33, dying of tuberculosis. However, he helped change boxing’s perception in the US from a sport of backlot brawlers into an artform.

  1. Steve Collins

steve collins

Steve Collins was a ferocious fighter when he stepped through the ropes. Boxing fans always knew they would see a show when Collins was on the card. Nicknamed “The Celtic Warrior”, Collins was known as a hardman. He trained under “Marvelous” Marvin Hagler in the US and learned the ins and outs of the sport with the famed fighter. Not only was Collins an exceptional fighter, but he had psychology down to a ‘T’. He won middle and super-middle weight championships in the 1990s. Collins famously retired without defeat as champion.

  1. Carl Frampton

frampton green

Carl Frampton is pure excitement in the ring. “Brick Fists” has recorded a 26-2 record with 15 KOs. Making Frampton even more remarkable is that he is still fighting. Despite losing to Josh Warrington in December 2018, the 31-year-old is already plotting his rematch. If Frampton can win the IBF Featherweight title once more, he could go down as Ireland’s greatest of all-time.

1.Barry McGuigan

mcguigan cruz

Any Irish boxer that can crossover into mainstream culture has to be at the top of the list, right? Barry McGuigan did just that in the 1980s during an extremely harsh decade for Ireland. Despite the political divide running rampant in Ireland, McGuigan was able to bring people together unlike politicians as they cheered him on. McGuigan’s title fight versus Eusebio Pedroza at London’s Loftus Road in 1985 is still considered one of the greatest Irish sporting events of all-time.


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Jonny Stapleton

Irish-boxing.com contributor for 15 years and editor for the past decade. Have been covering boxing for over 16 years and writing about sports for a living for over 20 years. Former Assistant Sports editor for the Gazette News Paper Group and former Tallaght Voice Sports Editor. Have had work published in publications around the world when working as a freelance journalist. Also co-founder of Junior Sports Media and Leinster Rugby PRO of the Year winner. email: editoririshboxing@gmail.com