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The Irish Canelos – 5 Irish Red-Headed Warriors

Among many other things, the Irish are known around the world for red hair and fighting.

However, the world’s premier flame-haired fighter at this moment in time is a Mexican.

Saul Canelo Alvarez hails from Guadalajara, Mexico, not a hurling stronghold, and is currently one of the top names in the sport of boxing.

Last night Canelo, a two-weight world champion, scored a lop-sided points win over Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in a Mexican grudge match before promptly announcing a September showdown with Gennady Golovkin – widely acknowledged as the current biggest fight in boxing.

Ireland has no claim on Canelo – although there must be a San Patricio in his lineage somewhere – so we take a look here at our own red-headed warriors.

Noely Murphy – 9(2)-0
Macroom, Cork
Based in Woodlawn, New York, and actually nicknamed the Irish Canelo, Murphy has big promotional backing in the form of Lou DiBella. The Rebel welter has built his record on the tough East Coast scene before having a sensational homecoming earlier this year. The Cork youngster, a former Intermediate champ, brought hundreds of fans to Dublin for a BUI Celtic title fight with Galician Avelino Vazquez, and the 22 year old scored an impressively mature points win over eight to claim his first belt. Murphy has the talent, support, and backing to go far in the sport..

noely murphy

Steve Collins Jr – 10(4)-0-1
Castleknock, Dublin
Light Heavyweight
An extremely late convert to boxing from rugby, the former top prop has made scarcely believable strides since picking up the gloves. Part of Irish boxing royalty, Collins is son of former two-weight world champ Steve and is trained by his uncle Packie at Celtic Warriors Gym in Dublin. Steadily coming down in weight, ‘The Wolfhound’ has brought big power with him while also showing some very proficient boxing skills in his most recent fight with Argentinean dangerman Pablo Sosa. Collins is now set to challenge for the Irish 175lbs title against undefeated former champion Paddy McDonagh in Dublin on June 24th.

steve collins jr

Ray Moylette – 2(0)-0
Islandeady, Mayo
Light Welterweight
The former amateur star has made the move to the pros where he is now looked after by Assassin Boxing and Packie Collins at Celtic Warrior. The 2011 European champion is a charismatic character with real star quality and a style which is perfect for the pros. Moylette fought twice in March, scoring wins over two game opponents and is looking to move quickly. Set to fight thrice in the next seven weeks, we are already looking forward to the Mayo takeover at the National Stadium on June 24th when he makes his Irish debut.

ray moylette

Chris Blaney – 6(3)-0
Navan, Meath
Someone who has embraced their red head, Blaney goes by the ring nickname of ‘The Ginger Ninja.’ Trained by Ricky Hatton in Manchester, the former Elite Senior runner-up has had a great debut year fighting in Dublin and in England, and recently stepped up to six rounds to outpoint the game Christian Hoskin Gomez. The Meath boxer has good skills, a fair bit of pop, a strong backing, and wants to be in contention for domestic titles over the next twelve months. Blaney fights next on June 24th in another six rounder at the National Stadium in Dublin.


Liam Gaynor – 0-0
Tallaght, Dublin
One of the youngest pros in Ireland, the 19 year made an early switch due to having a pro style, and he will be looked after by long-time trainer Stephen Kavanagh of Kilnamanagh BC. Gaynor is set to debut later this month on the massive ‘Celtic Clash 2’ bill at the National Stadium on May 27th. Expect the teenager to build his record and hone his skills over the next couple of years


And one from outside the ring

Andy O’Neill
Redhead Royalty right here. Andy O’Neill was crowned King of the Redheads at a national convention last year. When he’s not doing his royal duties, O’Neill can be found in the corners of boxers from around the world. One of the top cutmen in the business, O’Neill’s clients include both journeymen and world champions. Before moving into repairing damage, O’Neill inflicted it, and the cousin of Olympian Darren was once one of the top talents at Crumlin BC.


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