Top Irish fighters to mingle with first timers on boxing charity night
It may only be an amateur tournament, but some big names in Irish boxing are expected at the upcoming Palestine Fight Night in Croke Park. Ex-Irish champion Oisin “Gael Force” Fagan is just one of the pros attending the charity show on Friday, March 1. Jim Rock, Paul Griffin and the Hyland Brothers are also expected at the event. Some 30 novice boxers – men and women training in clubs around Dublin – will compete on the night which will feature a charity auction, singing, DJ, food, bar and other entertainment. Many of these amateur fighters will step into the ring for the first time – a nerve-wracking experience, according to boxing champ Oisin Fagan.
“I had my very first amateur fight when I was about 24,” the now 39-year-old boxer said. “I remember 4-5 weeks before the fight I was extremely nervous. I’d be so terrified of getting a punch that I’d waste a lot of energy keeping my hands up and I wasn’t able to flow with my shots… I was literally getting sick after every training session and I couldn’t get any sleep. All my pals were going to watch me fight, and I remember thinking to myself: if I’m getting my head punched off me I’d start wrestling or something. I definitely wasn’t losing that fight and I didn’t”.
Fagan won all three of his amateur bouts before going pro at the age of 30. He won the Oklahoma State lightweight title and became the Irish light welterweight champion in 2006. The boxer famously went the distance with world champ Julio Cesar Chavez Jr in MGM Grand, Las Vegas. Chavez, who won on points, later said the Dubliner gave him the best fight of his career. The Tallaght-born boxer now lives in Kinsealy, co Fingal, and works with Olympic champion Michael Carruth training kids from disadvantaged areas of Dublin. Fagan said he was happy to support novice events like the Palestine Fight Night on March 1.
“I had a very late start in boxing myself, but I’ve been bitten by the bug and now I’m mad about it”, the former Irish champion said. “That’s one of the things I love – a casual fan getting in the ring and training hard for it. It shows people what professionals and good amateurs do – they work really hard. I’m happy to get involved as I’m all for the promoting of boxing, I want boxing to become a household thing”.
The amateur fight night will be held in aid of the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (IPSC) which campaigns for justice for the Palestinian people through raising public awareness. IPSC supports the Palestinian call for Boycott Divestment and Sanctions, a call which was inspired by the boycott movement which played a part in ending apartheid in South Africa. It will be the third Palestine fight night in Dublin and the annual event is gaining popularity, said IPSC committee member Gary Daly.
“This year is the best year so far and I’m happy with the support we’re getting,” said Mr Daly who is an amateur boxer and will be fighting on the night. “I’ve been to the West Bank myself and feel very strongly towards the Palestinian people and what they go through every day”.
He added that an amateur boxing club from Ramallah, Palestine will send a video of the young members of the club which will be played on the night. “It’s about promoting boxing and bringing people together”, Daly said.
The fight night in aid of Ireland Palestine Solidarity campaign will take place on Friday, March 1st from 6:30pm to 11:00pm in Croke Park Stadium, Dublin. Cost of entry €20. All proceeds will go to IPSC, a non-profit organisation promoting fair and sustainable peace in the Middle East.