Collins in 2010
|Real name||Stephen Collins|
|Height||6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)|
|Reach||71 in (180 cm)|
21 July 1964 |
Cabra, Dublin, Ireland
|Wins by KO||21|
Stephen "Steve" Collins (born 21 July 1964) is an Irish former professional boxer who competed from 1986 to 1997. Known as "The Celtic Warrior", Collins is the most successful Irish boxer in professional boxing history, having held the WBO middleweight and super-middleweight titles.
Collins' first professional twenty fights all took place in the United States. In 1988 he won the Irish middleweight title, and the regional USBA middleweight title the following year. In his first two world championship challenges, both for the WBA middleweight title, Collins lost to Mike McCallum in 1990 and Reggie Johnson in 1992. He also challenged unsuccesfully for the European middleweight title in 1992, losing to Sumbu Kalambay in Italy.
It was not until Collins reached his early 30s that he fulfilled his potential, becoming WBO middleweight champion in his third world title attempt in 1994. The next year, he won the WBO super-middleweight title and defended it seven times before retiring from the sport. Having competed against the best boxers on both sides of the Atlantic, Collins tends to be linked more to an era in the UK during which there was a notable rivalry between British boxers Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn, both of whom he fought and defeated twice.
He was born the third of four sons in 1964. His uncle Jack O'Rourke was an Irish heavyweight champion in the 1960s and his father was a prize amateur fighter. Collins' first taste of the sport came with Corinthians Boxing Club in Dublin city centre. By the time he left Ireland at 21 he was an apprentice electrician at the Guinness Brewery.
The Boston years
Steve Collins won 26 Irish titles as an amateur before turning professional in Massachusetts, US in October 1986. Collins worked out of the Petronelli Brothers gym in Brockton, Massachusetts alongside Marvin Hagler. His debut fight was against Julio Mercado on the undercard of a bill that featured Irish Americans; his future trainer Freddie Roach and the future Fight of the Year winner Micky Ward. Collins beat Mercado by way of knockout in the third round.
In Boston, Massachusetts in 1988, he defeated Sam Storey to win the Irish middleweight title, then defeated world No. 5, Kevin Watts. After reaching 16–0, Collins was outpointed by Mike McCallum over 12 rounds in a shot at the WBA middleweight title in Boston in 1990. Collins was supported by a large crowd of Irish Americans as he battled the veteran champion, with the fight being close early on before McCallum started taking more and more control over the inexperienced Collins.
In 1992, Collins lost on points to Reggie Johnson in a closely contested slugfest for the vacant WBA middleweight title (which had been stripped from McCallum because he signed to fight IBF champion James Toney). Collins then lost to Sumbu Kalambay for the European title in Italy, before beating Gerhard Botes of South Africa to win the WBC penta continental trinket in 1993.
WBO middleweight champion
Collins then moved to Belfast under the management of Barney Eastwood before basing himself in England where he joined Barry Hearn's Matchroom Boxing. Alongside him was Paul "Silky" Jones, his sparring partner and good friend who later went on to become WBO light-middleweight title holder. Collins was trained by Freddie King in the Romford training camp.
In 1994, he won a world title by defeating Chris Pyatt by stoppage in five rounds to become the WBO middleweight champion. The following year he relinquished this title without a defence, moving up to super-middleweight to challenge Chris Eubank for the WBO title after Eubank's scheduled opponent Ray Close withdrew after failing a brain scan.
WBO super-middleweight champion
Collins defeated the previously unbeaten long-reigning champion Chris Eubank in Millstreet, County Cork, Ireland in March 1995 to win the WBO super-middleweight title. Collins had enlisted the help of well known guru Tony Quinn, and they led the press to believe that Collins would be hypnotised for the fight. True to form, Collins sat in his corner and did not move, listening to headphones during Eubanks' ring entrance.
In the rematch, Collins set a fast pace and adopted wild, brawling tactics that Eubank struggled to deal with, and Collins again won a decision. He defended this title successfully seven times, including two fights against Nigel Benn (rtd4 and rtd6).
Collins was billed to defend against the up-and-coming Joe Calzaghe in October 1997, but withdrew at a late stage because of injury, had his title stripped, and unexpectedly retired. Eubank stepped in to take Collins' place in fighting Calzaghe for the vacant WBO title.
Collins reportedly stated in the press that he had no motivation left, as he had spent the best part of his career chasing Roy Jones Jr. for a unification fight that had been promised to him many times. Collins is reported to have stated in Boxing World that he had spent so long chasing Roy Jones Jr that money was no longer important; that he would "fight him in a phone box in front of two men and a dog". but the bout never materialised. A fight with Calzaghe would do nothing to satisfy the desire he had for fighting Jones. He then added he wanted to retire on a high note with a good pay day, "Joe is a good up-and-coming kid, but he wouldn't fill a parish church".
In 1999, he announced his decision to come out of retirement to fight Jones. Jones is said to have offered in excess of £3 million for the fight. Collins is said to have been suspicious regarding the money that Jones was offering and said to the papers that "for £3 million I would fight Mike Tyson."
Controversy surrounded the fight, as it was rumoured that Collins would have to fight Calzaghe before a showdown with Jones. Collins had accepted this and started to prepare to fight Calzaghe. In his preparation training for the fight that was never to be, Collins collapsed during a sparring session with Howard Eastman. Although tests and a brain scan didn't find any problems, he decided that it was a warning to make him stop boxing, and he retired for a second time.
Collins retired in 1997 with his then wife and children to the town of Bangor, County Down, with a record of: W 36 (21 KOs) – L 3.
Collins featured in the British TV reality show Commando VIP that aired on Five. It put six celebrities through tough military-style challenges after being trained by three real commandos. He appeared alongside fellow ex-boxer Nigel Benn. Collins appeared on The Weakest Link Boxing Special. He was the sixth one voted off
He now lives in St Albans, England.
On 15 January 2013, at the age of 48, Collins announced plans to fight his longtime nemesis Roy Jones, Jr. and on 5 October, at 49 years old, he appeared in a three round exhibition against former welterweight pro Frank Harrington.
Professional boxing record
|Professional record summary|
|39 fights||36 wins||3 losses|
|39||Win||36–3||Craig Cummings||TKO||3 (12), 1:17||5 Jul 1997||Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, Scotland||Retained WBO super-middleweight title|
|38||Win||35–3||Frederic Seillier||TKO||5 (12), 2:20||8 Feb 1997||London Arena, London, England||Retained WBO super-middleweight title|
|37||Win||34–3||Nigel Benn||RTD||6 (12), 3:00||9 Nov 1996||NYNEX Arena, Manchester, England||Retained WBO super-middleweight title|
|36||Win||33–3||Nigel Benn||TKO||4 (12), 2:44||6 Jul 1996||NYNEX Arena, Manchester, England||Retained WBO super-middleweight title|
|35||Win||32–3||Neville Brown||TKO||11 (12), 0:54||9 Mar 1996||Green Glens Arena, Millstreet, Ireland||Retained WBO super-middleweight title|
|34||Win||31–3||Cornelius Carr||UD||12||25 Nov 1995||Point Theatre, Dublin, Ireland||Retained WBO super-middleweight title|
|33||Win||30–3||Chris Eubank||SD||12||9 Sep 1995||Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Cork, Ireland||Retained WBO super-middleweight title|
|32||Win||29–3||Chris Eubank||UD||12||18 Mar 1995||Green Glens Arena, Millstreet, Ireland||Won WBO super-middleweight title|
|31||Win||28–3||Chris Pyatt||TKO||5 (12), 2:27||11 May 1994||Ponds Forge, Sheffield, England||Won WBO middleweight title|
|30||Win||27–3||Paul Wesley||PTS||8||9 Feb 1994||Brentwood Centre, Brentwood, England|
|29||Win||26–3||Johnny Melfah||TKO||4 (8)||22 Jan 1994||King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|28||Win||25–3||Wayne Ellis||KO||9 (10)||30 Nov 1993||Cardiff, Wales|
|27||Win||24–3||Gerhard Botes||TKO||7 (12)||26 Jun 1993||Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London, England||Won vacant WBA Penta-Continental middleweight title|
|26||Win||23–3||Ian Strudwick||TKO||7 (10)||20 Feb 1993||Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London, England|
|25||Win||22–3||Johnny Melfah||TKO||3 (8), 2:48||6 Feb 1993||Cardiff, Wales|
|24||Loss||21–3||Sumbu Kalambay||PTS||12||22 Oct 1992||Verbania, Italy||For European middleweight title|
|23||Loss||21–2||Reggie Johnson||MD||12||22 Apr 1992||Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey, US||For vacant WBA middleweight title|
|22||Win||21–1||Dan Morgan||KO||3||11 Dec 1991||National Stadium, Dublin, Ireland|
|21||Win||20–1||Jean-Noel Camara||KO||3||25 May 1991||Brest, France|
|20||Win||19–1||Kenny Snow||TKO||3 (10), 3:00||11 May 1991||Maysfield Leisure Centre, Belfast, Northern Ireland|
|19||Win||18–1||Eddie Hall||UD||10||24 Nov 1990||Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, US|
|18||Win||17–1||Fermin Chirino||TKO||6 (10)||16 Aug 1990||Sheraton Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts, US|
|17||Loss||16–1||Mike McCallum||UD||12||3 Feb 1990||Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts, US||For WBA middleweight title|
|16||Win||16–0||Roberto Rosiles||TKO||9 (10), 0:52||21 Nov 1989||Showboat Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, US|
|15||Win||15–0||Tony Thornton||MD||12||16 Jul 1989||Harrah's Marina Resort, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US||Retained USBA middleweight title|
|14||Win||14–0||Kevin Watts||UD||12||9 May 1989||Resorts International Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US||Won USBA middleweight title|
|13||Win||13–0||Paul McPeek||TKO||9 (10)||7 Feb 1989||Trump's Castle, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US|
|12||Win||12–0||Jesse Lanton||UD||8||10 Dec 1988||Boys Club, Salem, New Hampshire, US|
|11||Win||11–0||Muhammad Shabazz||TKO||4 (10)||22 Oct 1988||Boys Club, Salem, New Hampshire, US|
|10||Win||10–0||Michael Dale||UD||8||30 Jul 1988||Romuva Park, Brockton, Massachusetts, US|
|9||Win||9–0||Lester Yarbrough||UD||10||26 May 1988||Park Plaza Hotel & Towers, Boston, Massachusetts, US|
|8||Win||8–0||Sam Storey||UD||10||18 Mar 1988||Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, US||Won Irish middleweight title|
|7||Win||7–0||Bennie Sims||UD||8||9 Dec 1987||Harrah's Marina Resort, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US|
|6||Win||6–0||Mike Williams||UD||6||20 Nov 1987||Resorts International Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US|
|5||Win||5–0||Harold Souther||UD||8||29 Oct 1987||Memorial Auditorium, Lowell, Massachusetts, US|
|4||Win||4–0||Richard Holmes||KO||1||10 Oct 1987||Attleboro, Massachusetts, US|
|3||Win||3–0||Richard Holloway||KO||2 (4)||20 Dec 1986||Strand Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts, US|
|2||Win||2–0||Mike Bonislawski||UD||4||27 Nov 1986||Strand Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts, US|
|1||Win||1–0||Julio Mercado||KO||3 (4), 1:55||24 Oct 1986||Memorial Auditorium, Lowell, Massachusetts, US||Professional debut|
Titles in boxing
|Irish middleweight champion
18 March 1988 – March 1995
Title next held byDarren Sweeney
|USBA middleweight champion
9 May 1989 – February 1990
Title next held byReggie Johnson
|WBO middleweight champion
11 May 1994 – March 1995
Title next held byLonnie Bradley
|WBO super-middleweight champion
18 March 1995 – 5 July 1997
Title next held byJoe Calzaghe
- Jarlath Regan (13 May 2014). "Steve Collins". An Irishman Abroad (Podcast) (34 ed.). Retrieved 10 November 2014.
- Independent article on retirement
- "Steve Collins coming out of retirement aged 48 to fight Roy Jones Jr". RTÉ News. 15 January 2013.
- "Former world champion Collins to come out of retirement at 48 for grudge match with American ring legend Jones". Daily Mail. London. 16 January 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013.
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