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The Ruadh Awakening – Surprise Star is Born at the Ulster Hall

The Ulster Hall had seen it all – up until Saturday night.

The picturesque venue is famed and steeped in history, having hosted some of Irish boxing’s biggest fights and most famous nights since the 1940s.

From Hugh Russell v Davy Larmour to Martin Lindsay v Paul Appleby, the concert hall is no stranger to bloody wars.

With that in mind, the old place wouldn’t have batted an eyelid at any stage during Ruadhan Farrell and Connor Kerr’s war on Saturday gone.

It may have even thrown a knowing smile in the direction of those who rejoiced in the potential Fight of the Year as it reminisced of classics of old.

However, there was an occurrence that would have even forced the Belfast arena to raise its eyebrows.

The Ulster Hall bore witness to a Rudh Awakening on Easter Weekend.

Somehow, in the minutes between Farrell falling to his knees in celebration and the main event gloving off, a potential star was born.

As the ring and fight night equipment were being taken down the Belfast super bantamweight’s stock was rising short squeeze style.

It got to the extent where some very influential people were discussing the new BUI Celtic Champion as a headline act. In fact, Jamie Conlan, a world title challenger who promoted Saturday night’s Breakout card, wondered on more than one occasion if Farrell could be the main event of a DAZN-broadcast Girwood-hosted show this Summer.

Granted, names have been made on the back of big wins throughout the history of boxing, but for Farrell to be perceived as a possible star so early in his career is almost miraculous

Here is a kid who said he was turning over as a teen, first telling Irish-boxing.com he was ditching the vest in 2018 to sign with the now-defunct Assassin Promotions.

Speaking at the time the 18-year-old said: “I feel that I’m 100% ready to get into the pro game and I can’t wait!”

A number of false dawns later and ‘Rudy’ was labelled Irish boxing’s ‘boy who cried wolf’. He showed courage to not give up on the dream and after five false starts finally got out of the boxing blocks.

Still, many within Irish boxing queried where he was going despite the fact he had legendary coach John Breen as a vocal supporter.

The lack of genuine respect was still there when he signed to fight Colm Murphy and Ger Hughes on big cards.

‘Posh Boy’ was meant to stop him in one, while they said Farrell should be extremely grateful to be anywhere near Matchroom shows.

The Ian Gaughran-guided fighter didn’t win either of those clashes but, thanks to a little bit of good fortune and a stubborn desire to impact the Irish scene, managed to find himself in the chief support on Conlan Boxing’s DAZN fight night – and has used the platform to change his life.

The 24-year-old, who has his fair share of troubles outside the ring, sold his story in the build-up and seemed to capture the attention, even affection of Michael and Jamie Conlan.

Helped by a brilliant Connor Kerr, he was involved in a title fight that won him new fans and, by the final bell, Farrell’s bravery in putting himself out there, ignoring his critics and taking an all-Irish earned him the ultimate reward.

‘Rudy’ left the Ulster Hall with the BUI Celtic title, new levels of fight-family respect, options galore, and a possible pathway to the top of a TV bill.

There is a WBC Youth Inter-Continental title fight in Scotland on the cards but it’s understood Team Conlan would like to use him as a DAZN bill topper and want him to take one of the two rematches he has in his back pocket on a TV card.

Whichever option he takes, the days of flakey Farrell are long gone. He’s proven himself, and then some.

Photo Credit Mark Mead


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years