Barry McGuigan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Barry McGuigan
Pat Doherty MP with Mary Doherty and Barry McGuigan at the London St Patrick's Day march. (16232423774).jpg
McGuigan (centre) with Pat Doherty (right) and Mrs Doherty
Real nameFinbar Patrick McGuigan
Nickname(s)The Clones Colossus
Height5 ft 6 in (1.68 m)
Reach70 in (178 cm)
Born (1961-02-28) 28 February 1961 (age 60)
Clones, County Monaghan, Republic of Ireland
Boxing record
Total fights35
Wins by KO28
No contests0

Finbar Patrick 'Barry' McGuigan MBE (born 28 February 1961) is an Irish retired professional boxer and current boxing promoter. Born in Clones, County Monaghan, Ireland, McGuigan was nicknamed The Clones Cyclone and became the WBA and lineal featherweight world champion. He was very popular with Irish and British audiences, representing neutrality and peace in a time when Ireland, where he lived, was affected by The Troubles. In 2005 he was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame. He is also known for coaching one of the most decorated boxers from Northern Ireland, Carl Frampton, along with his son Shane McGuigan.

He founded, and is the current president of, the Professional Boxing Association (PBA).[1] McGuigan is the founder and CEO of Cyclone Promotions.

He is a dual citizen of both the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.


Barry McGuigan was born in Clones, County Monaghan, Ireland. His father was singer Pat McGuigan (died 1987). Pat McGuigan sang "Danny Boy" before several of his son's matches. This inspired the Hacienda Brothers' song "If Daddy Don't Sing Danny Boy", written by boxer and musician Chris Gaffney.[2]

As an amateur, McGuigan represented Northern Ireland in the Commonwealth Games at Edmonton in 1978 and represented Ireland at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. He became a UK citizen so that he could compete for British titles.[3][4]

During his professional career, McGuigan fought at a number of venues in Ireland and Britain. He attracted an enormous following in the mid-1980s, particularly to the King's Hall in Belfast which he regularly filled to capacity. McGuigan is a Roman Catholic, and at a time when Catholics and Protestants were clashing during The Troubles, he married a Protestant, Sandra Mealiff.[5][6] As of 2010, they remain married after over three decades.[7]

McGuigan stated that the support he received from both Protestants and Catholics in Ireland was because:

"[the] shadows ran deep. And my fights felt a little like sunshine. Both sides would say: 'Leave the fighting to McGuigan.' You see, it was also entertainment – people loved to forget the Troubles a while. The fact that I wouldn't wear green, white and gold or put on a sign that said this is who I represent was powerful. It was a very mature and dangerous thing to do. I wouldn't choose sides. People appreciated that."[8]

As a non-sectarian sporting ambassador for Northern Ireland, he drew on the experience of Joey Dunlop and George Best. He and his wife have both been patrons for children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent.

Amateur career[edit]

McGuigan began his juvenile boxing career at the Wattlebridge Amateur Boxing Club, County Fermanagh and later moved to the Smithborough Amateur Boxing Club, County Monaghan. Under the guidance of trainers Danny McEntee and Frank Mulligan he rapidly established himself as an exceptional boxer. He won the All Ireland Amateur Championship in 1976 having defeated Martin Brereton. Notable opponents during his teenage years included Dubliner James Coughlan, whom he defeated at the age of 15, as well as Gordon McNeil (of Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne) and Eric Clarke (of Hackney, London).[citation needed]

McGuigan represented Northern Ireland in the Commonwealth Games at Edmonton 1978 and represented Ireland at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow.

1980 Olympic results[edit]

Barry McGuigan competed at the 1980 Moscow Olympics as a featherweight; his record was:

  • Round of 64: bye
  • Round of 32: defeated Issack Mabushi (Tanzania) referee stopped contest in third round
  • Round of 16: lost to Winfred Kabunda (Zambia) by decision, 1-4

Professional career[edit]

He began his professional boxing career on 10 May 1981, beating Selvin Bell by TKO in two rounds in Dublin. After another win, he suffered his first setback, losing a hotly disputed decision to Peter Eubank (brother of Chris Eubank) over eight rounds at Corn Exchange at the Brighton Dome.[9] After his first loss, McGuigan notched up two more wins, including one over Terry Pizzarro, and then he was given a rematch with Eubank. The second time around, McGuigan prevailed, by a knockout in the eighth round.[10]

In 1982, McGuigan won eight fights, seven by knockout. One of these, however, almost destroyed his career and his life. Opposed by Young Ali, on 14 June 1982, McGuigan won by a knockout in six rounds; Ali fell into a coma from which he never recovered.[11] According to the book The Ring: Boxing The 20th Century, this affected McGuigan so much he was not sure he wanted to carry on as a boxer. He also defeated Paul Huggins and Angelo Licata during this period. In 1983, he won four fights, winning the British Title against Vernon Penprase, and including his first trip to fight outside Europe (when he beat Lavon McGowan by a knockout in the first round in Chicago), before getting his first try at a European title.[citation needed]

On 16 November, Italy's Valerio Nati boxed McGuigan for the vacant European Featherweight title in Belfast, and McGuigan won the crown with a knockout in the sixth round. He then became the number one Featherweight challenger in the World Boxing Association. In 1984, he won six bouts, all by knockout. Among the fighters he beat were former world title challengers Jose Caba and Felipe Orozco. He also beat contenders Paul DeVorce and Charm Chiteule and retained his British and European titles against Clyde Ruan and the latter belt against Esteban Eguia to keep his chance at a World Championship attempt alive.[citation needed]

In 1985, McGuigan met former world featherweight champion Juan Laporte and won by a decision after ten rounds.[12] Following one more win (a defence of his European Title against Farid Gallouze), he finally got his world title try when the long reigning WBA featherweight champion, Eusebio Pedroza of Panama, went to London to put his title on the line at Loftus Road football stadium. McGuigan became the champion by dropping Pedroza in round seven and winning a unanimous fifteen-round decision in a fight refereed by hall of fame referee Stanley Christodoulou. McGuigan and his wife were feted in a public reception through the streets of Belfast that attracted several hundred thousand spectators. Later that year, he was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year, becoming the first person not born in the United Kingdom to win the award.[13]

McGuigan made his first defence against American Bernard Taylor, who was stopped in the ninth round, and then against Danilo Cabrera, who got knocked out in fourteen rounds. This proved to be a controversial stoppage: the fight was stopped after the challenger bent over to pick up his mouthpiece after losing it, a practice that is allowed in many countries but not in Ireland. Cabrera was not aware of this, and the fight was stopped. Although Cabrera's corner protested the outcome, McGuigan remained the winner by a knockout. For his next defence, he went to Las Vegas in June 1986, where he faced the relatively unknown Stevie Cruz from Texas in what proved a gruelling fifteen-round title bout under a blazing sun. McGuigan held a lead halfway through, but suffered dehydration because of the extreme heat and wilted near the end, being dropped in rounds ten and fifteen. He eventually lost a close decision and his world belt, which he was never to reclaim. After the fight, McGuigan required hospitalisation because of his dehydrated state.[citation needed]

After that fight he retired, partly due to the death of his father in 1987. He used to say his father was his greatest inspiration and, after his death, apparently felt no reason to continue boxing. However, he returned to the ring between 1988 and 1989, beating former world title challengers Nicky Perez and Francisco Tomas da Cruz, as well as contender Julio César Miranda, before losing to former EBU featherweight champ and future WBC and WBA super featherweight challenger Jim McDonnell by a technical knockout when a McDonnell left hook opened a gash over McGuigan's right eye in 2nd round that caused the referee to stop the fight in the 4th. He retired permanently from boxing. His record was 32 wins and 3 losses, with 28 wins by knockout. In January 2005, McGuigan was elected into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.[citation needed]

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
35 fights 32 wins 3 losses
By knockout 28 1
By decision 4 2
By disqualification 0 0
Draws 0
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
35 Loss 32–3 United Kingdom Jim McDonnell TKO 4 (10), 1:43 31 May 1989 United Kingdom G-Mex Leisure Centre, Manchester, England
34 Win 32–2 Argentina Julio César Miranda TKO 8 (10), 1:12 1 Dec 1988 United Kingdom Pickett's Lock Stadium, London, England
33 Win 31–2 Brazil Francisco Tomas da Cruz TKO 4 (10), 1:43 25 Jun 1988 United Kingdom Kenilworth Road, Luton, England
32 Win 30–2 United States Nicky Perez TKO 4 (10), 2:55 4 Apr 1988 United Kingdom Alexandra Pavilion, London, England
31 Loss 29–2 United States Steve Cruz UD 15 23 Jun 1986 United States Caesars Palace, Paradise, Nevada, U.S. Lost WBA, The Ring, and lineal featherweight titles
30 Win 29–1 Dominican Republic Danilo Cabrera TKO 14 (15), 1:40 15 Feb 1986 Republic of Ireland The Royal Dublin Society, Dublin, Ireland Retained WBA, The Ring, and lineal featherweight titles
29 Win 28–1 United States Bernard Taylor RTD 8 (15), 3:00 28 Sep 1985 United Kingdom King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland Retained WBA, The Ring, and lineal featherweight titles
28 Win 27–1 Panama Eusebio Pedroza UD 15 8 Jun 1985 United Kingdom Loftus Road Stadium, London, England Won WBA, The Ring, and lineal featherweight titles
27 Win 26–1 France Farid Gallouze TKO 2 (12), 1:20 26 Mar 1985 United Kingdom Wembley Arena, London, England Retained European featherweight title
26 Win 25–1 Puerto Rico Juan Laporte PTS 10 23 Feb 1985 United Kingdom King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
25 Win 24–1 United Kingdom Clyde Ruan KO 4 (12), 2:50 19 Dec 1984 United Kingdom Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland Retained European and British featherweight titles
24 Win 23–1 Colombia Felipe Orozco KO 2 (10), 2:10 13 Oct 1984 United Kingdom King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
23 Win 22–1 United States Paul DeVorce TKO 5 (10), 1:30 30 Jun 1984 United Kingdom King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
22 Win 21–1 Spain Esteban Eguia KO 3 (12), 0:45 5 Jun 1984 United Kingdom Royal Albert Hall, London, England Retained European featherweight title
21 Win 20–1 Dominican Republic Jose Caba TKO 7 (10) 4 Apr 1984 United Kingdom King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
20 Win 19–1 Zambia Charm Chiteule TKO 10 (10) 25 Jan 1984 United Kingdom King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
19 Win 18–1 Italy Valerio Nati KO 6 (12), 2:33 16 Nov 1983 United Kingdom King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland For vacant European featherweight title
18 Win 17–1 Dominican Republic Ruben Dario Herasme KO 2 (10), 2:58 5 Oct 1983 United Kingdom Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
17 Win 16–1 United States Lavon McGowan KO 1 (10), 2:59 9 Jul 1983 United States DiVinci Manoe, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
16 Win 15–1 Cameroon Samuel Meck TKO 6 (10), 2:58 22 May 1983 Republic of Ireland Navan Exhibition Centre, Navan, Republic of Ireland
15 Win 14–1 United Kingdom Vernon Penprase TKO 2 (12), 2:50 12 Apr 1983 United Kingdom Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland Won vacant British featherweight title
14 Win 13–1 United Kingdom Paul Huggins TKO 5 (12) 9 Nov 1982 United Kingdom Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
13 Win 12–1 United Kingdom Jimmy Duncan RTD 4 (10) 5 Oct 1982 United Kingdom Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
12 Win 11–1 Nigeria Young Ali KO 6 (8), 2:47 14 June 1982 United Kingdom World Sporting Club, London, England
11 Win 10–1 United Kingdom Gary Lucas KO 1 (8) 22 Apr 1982 United Kingdom Lakeland Forum, Enniskillen, Northern Ireland
10 Win 9–1 Belgium Angelo Licata RTD 2 (8), 2:45 23 Mar 1982 United Kingdom Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
9 Win 8–1 Spain Angel Oliver TKO 3 (8), 2:16 23 Feb 1982 United Kingdom Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
8 Win 7–1 United Kingdom Ian Murray TKO 3 (8) 8 Feb 1982 United Kingdom World Sporting Club, London, England
7 Win 6–1 Spain Luis de la Sagra PTS 8 27 Jan 1982 United Kingdom Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
6 Win 5–1 United Kingdom Peter Eubank TKO 8 (8), 2:40 8 Dec 1981 United Kingdom Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
5 Win 4–1 Puerto Rico Terry Pizzaro TKO 4 (8) 26 Oct 1981 United Kingdom Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
4 Win 3–1 Belgium Jean-Marc Renard PTS 8 3 Aug 1981 United Kingdom Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
3 Loss 2–1 United Kingdom Peter Eubank PTS 8 3 Aug 1981 United Kingdom Corn Exchange, Brighton, England
2 Win 2–0 United Kingdom Gary Lucas TKO 4 (6), 1:20 20 Jun 1981 United Kingdom Empire Pool, London, England
1 Win 1–0 United Kingdom Selvin Bell TKO 2 (6) 10 May 1981 Republic of Ireland Dalymount Park, Dublin, Republic of Ireland

After boxing[edit]

McGuigan attempted to establish an association to protect the rights of boxers against what he, and others, considered omnipotent managers and promoters. In this regard, he had had a difficult time during his own career. A very close relationship with his manager deteriorated badly over time and led to a successful libel case against him by his former manager several years later. He participated in The Grand Knockout Tournament 1987 charity event television special. In the 1980s, he was a chat show host on BBC1.[citation needed]

McGuigan lives near Whitstable, Kent with his wife and children. He currently works as a boxing pundit for Sky TV. Two biographies of McGuigan have been written. He is currently a boxing manager and promoter.[citation needed] McGuigan's daughter, Nika, died in 2019 aged 33.[14]

He is the Chairman of the Professional Boxing Association, an organisation he has wanted to set up for over a decade, with the intention of teaching boxers the importance of education, and indeed educating them.[1]

McGuigan has tried his hand at acting, appearing in the movie Malicious Intent in 2000. He also served as referee on the UK television game show Grudge Match, hosted by Nick Weir.[citation needed] He appeared in the third series of ITV's Hell's Kitchen in September 2007, where he was eventually crowned the winner after winning the public vote.[citation needed] In August 2009, he co-presented Charity Lords of the Ring with Lucy Kennedy.[15]

Other recognition[edit]

McGuigan was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame and International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2005. He also fought in Ring Magazine's 1986 Fight of the Year, and was a title character in the 8-bit computer game, Barry McGuigan World Championship Boxing. In 1985 he was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year.[citation needed] He was honoured in an Irish ballad song released in 1984, "Clones Cyclone", written by Johnny McCauley and sung by Big Tom.[16] The popular German musician and composer Udo Lindenberg also dedicated his song "Jonny Boxer" to McGuigan in 1986. The Bournemouth-based band The Worry Dolls named a track "Barry McGuigan" on their album, The Man That Time Forgot.[17] He was appointed a Member of the Order of the British Empire (M.B.E.) - a substantive award, not an honorary award.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Barry McGuigan profile". 7 May 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014.
  2. ^ Hacienda, The. "NPR interviewwith Chris Gaffney". Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  3. ^ Trickett, Alex (25 October 2005). "Boxing by the weights". BBC News. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  4. ^ Holden, Kit (8 November 2008). "Boxing: Calzaghe's last stand". The Independent. Retrieved 19 January 2013.
  5. ^ "Mcguigan'S Title Bout Sires Ireland". The New York Times. 7 June 1985. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  6. ^ "Time and Place: Barry McGuigan". The Sunday Times. 15 June 2008. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  7. ^ "TV Pixie | All Star Mr & Mrs ITV2 22 Jun 2010 19:00". Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  8. ^ McRae, Donald (4 June 2011). "Barry McGuigan's past compels him to make Carl Frampton the future". The Guardian.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 July 2019. Retrieved 26 July 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 26 July 2019. Retrieved 26 July 2019.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  11. ^ Alan Hubbard (5 June 2011). "Barry McGuigan: 'Every fighter has a story that could break your heart'". The Independent. Retrieved 9 March 2020.
  12. ^ "BoxRec: Event". Retrieved 9 June 2021.
  13. ^ "BBC Sports Personality". Retrieved 6 March 2011.
  14. ^ "Danika McGuigan: Actress and daughter of ex-boxer dies aged 33". BBC News. 24 July 2019. Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  15. ^ "Celebrity Diary: Barry McGuigan". Evening Herald. 21 August 2009. Archived from the original on 18 February 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2009.
  16. ^ "Big Tom sings "Clones Cyclone"". YouTube. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  17. ^ The Man That Time Forgot,; accessed 8 May 2014.

External links[edit]

Regional boxing titles
Title last held by
Loris Stecca
European featherweight champion
November 16, 1983 – June 8, 1985
Title next held by
Jim McDonnell
World boxing titles
Preceded by
WBA Featherweight Champion
June 8, 1985 – June 23, 1986
Succeeded by
The Ring featherweight champion
8 June 1985 – 23 June 1986
Lineal Featherweight Champion
8 June 1985 – 23 June 1986