Steve Collins

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Steve Collins
Steve Collins.jpg
Collins in 2010
Real nameStephen Collins
  • Irish (former)
  • Celtic Warrior
Height6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Reach71 in (180 cm)
Born (1964-07-21) 21 July 1964 (age 55)
[Limerick, ]], Ireland
Boxing record
Total fights39
Wins by KO21

Stephen 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 nineteen professional fights all took place in the United States. In 1988 he won the Irish middleweight title, and the regional American USBA middleweight title the following year, defending the latter successfully in Atlantic City and Las Vegas. In his first two world championship challenges, both for the WBA middleweight title, Collins lost split decisions to Mike McCallum in 1990 and Reggie Johnson in 1992. He also challenged unsuccessfully for the European middleweight title in 1992, losing a split decision 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.

Professional career[edit]

Early years in Boston[edit]

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 former Olympian and British Super Middleweight champion Sam Storey to win the Irish middleweight title, then defeated world No. 5, Kevin Watts to win the USBA middleweight title. After reaching 16–0, Collins was outpointed by Mike McCallum he stepped in as a substitute after Michael Watson was injured in training at fought 12 rounds for the WBA middleweight title in Boston in 1990. Collins was supported by a large crowd of Irish Americans as he battled the champion, with the fight being close early on before McCallum started to tire as Collins gained momentum in the later stages to bring a close finish at the end of 12 exciting rounds.

In 1992, Collins lost a disputed 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[edit]

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 and was having difficulty making the weight. Again as a substitute he moved 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[edit]

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 a guru, 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 Eubank's 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.

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 Joe 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 Roy Jones.

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 training, Collins collapsed during a sparring session with Howard Eastman. Although tests and a brain scan did not find any problems, he decided that it was a warning to make him stop boxing, and he retired for a second time.[1]

Collins retired in 1997 with a record of: W 36 (21 KOs) – L 3.


Collins has not entirely faded from the spotlight since his retirement. In 1998 he appeared in the film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels as a boxing gym bouncer. In 1999 he made a cameo appearance in "Sweetest Thing", a music video by U2. On 15 January 2013, at the age of 48, Collins announced plans to fight his longtime nemesis Roy Jones Jr.[2][3] He went on to appear in a number of exhibition bouts in preparation for the proposed Jones fight.

In 2017 Collins joined the Army Reserve's 253 Provost Company[4] of the 4th Regiment Royal Military Police in London where he had been living for the previous 20 years.[5] He gained promotion to Lance Corporal and qualified as an army boxing coach. He is reputed to be much harder than L/Cpl. Blackburn.[4]

Personal life[edit]

His brother Roddy Collins is a former professional footballer and now manager.

Professional boxing record[edit]

Professional record summary
39 fights 36 wins 3 losses
By knockout 21 0
By decision 15 3
No. Result Record Opponent Type Round, time Date Location Notes
39 Win 36–3 United States Craig Cummings TKO 3 (12), 1:17 5 Jul 1997 United Kingdom Kelvin Hall, Glasgow, Scotland Retained WBO super-middleweight title
38 Win 35–3 France Frederic Seillier TKO 5 (12), 2:20 8 Feb 1997 United Kingdom London Arena, London, England Retained WBO super-middleweight title
37 Win 34–3 United Kingdom Nigel Benn RTD 6 (12), 3:00 9 Nov 1996 United Kingdom NYNEX Arena, Manchester, England Retained WBO super-middleweight title
36 Win 33–3 United Kingdom Nigel Benn TKO 4 (12), 2:44 6 Jul 1996 United Kingdom NYNEX Arena, Manchester, England Retained WBO super-middleweight title
35 Win 32–3 United Kingdom Neville Brown TKO 11 (12), 0:54 9 Mar 1996 Republic of Ireland Green Glens Arena, Millstreet, Ireland Retained WBO super-middleweight title
34 Win 31–3 United Kingdom Cornelius Carr UD 12 25 Nov 1995 Republic of Ireland Point Theatre, Dublin, Ireland Retained WBO super-middleweight title
33 Win 30–3 United Kingdom Chris Eubank SD 12 9 Sep 1995 Republic of Ireland Páirc Uí Chaoimh, Cork, Ireland Retained WBO super-middleweight title
32 Win 29–3 United Kingdom Chris Eubank UD 12 18 Mar 1995 Republic of Ireland Green Glens Arena, Millstreet, Ireland Won WBO super-middleweight title
31 Win 28–3 United Kingdom Chris Pyatt TKO 5 (12), 2:27 11 May 1994 United Kingdom Ponds Forge, Sheffield, England Won WBO middleweight title
30 Win 27–3 United Kingdom Paul Wesley PTS 8 9 Feb 1994 United Kingdom Brentwood Centre, Brentwood, England
29 Win 26–3 United Kingdom Johnny Melfah TKO 4 (8) 22 Jan 1994 United Kingdom King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
28 Win 25–3 United Kingdom Wayne Ellis KO 9 (10) 30 Nov 1993 United Kingdom Cardiff, Wales
27 Win 24–3 South Africa Gerhard Botes TKO 7 (12) 26 Jun 1993 United Kingdom Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London, England Won vacant WBA Penta-Continental middleweight title
26 Win 23–3 United Kingdom Ian Strudwick TKO 7 (10) 20 Feb 1993 United Kingdom Earls Court Exhibition Centre, London, England
25 Win 22–3 United Kingdom Johnny Melfah TKO 3 (8), 2:48 6 Feb 1993 United Kingdom Cardiff, Wales
24 Loss 21–3 Italy Sumbu Kalambay PTS 12 22 Oct 1992 Italy Verbania, Italy For European middleweight title
23 Loss 21–2 United States Reggie Johnson MD 12 22 Apr 1992 United States Brendan Byrne Arena, East Rutherford, New Jersey, US For vacant WBA middleweight title
22 Win 21–1 United States Danny Morgan KO 3 11 Dec 1991 Republic of Ireland National Stadium, Dublin, Ireland
21 Win 20–1 France Jean-Noel Camara KO 3 25 May 1991 France Salle Marcel Cerdan, Brest, France
20 Win 19–1 United States Kenny Snow TKO 3 (10), 3:00 11 May 1991 United Kingdom Maysfield Leisure Centre, Belfast, Northern Ireland
19 Win 18–1 United States Eddie Hall UD 10 24 Nov 1990 United States Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, US
18 Win 17–1 Venezuela Fermin Chirino TKO 6 (10) 16 Aug 1990 United States Sheraton Hotel, Boston, Massachusetts, US
17 Loss 16–1 Jamaica Mike McCallum UD 12 3 Feb 1990 United States Hynes Convention Center, Boston, Massachusetts, US For WBA middleweight title
16 Win 16–0 United States Roberto Rosiles TKO 9 (10), 0:52 21 Nov 1989 United States Showboat Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada, US
15 Win 15–0 United States Tony Thornton MD 12 16 Jul 1989 United States Broadway by the Bay Theater, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US Retained USBA middleweight title
14 Win 14–0 United States Kevin Watts UD 12 9 May 1989 United States Resorts International Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US Won USBA middleweight title
13 Win 13–0 United States Paul McPeek TKO 9 (10) 7 Feb 1989 United States Trump's Castle, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US
12 Win 12–0 United States Jesse Lanton UD 8 10 Dec 1988 United States Boys Club, Salem, New Hampshire, US
11 Win 11–0 United States Muhammad Shabazz TKO 4 (10) 22 Oct 1988 United States Boys Club, Salem, New Hampshire, US
10 Win 10–0 United States Michael Dale UD 8 30 Jul 1988 United States Romuva Park, Brockton, Massachusetts, US
9 Win 9–0 United States Lester Yarbrough UD 10 26 May 1988 United States Boston Park Plaza Hotel & Towers, Boston, Massachusetts, US
8 Win 8–0 United Kingdom Sam Storey UD 10 18 Mar 1988 United States Boston Garden, Boston, Massachusetts, US Won Irish middleweight title
7 Win 7–0 United States Bennie Sims UD 8 9 Dec 1987 United States Broadway by the Bay Theater, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US
6 Win 6–0 United States Mike Williams UD 6 20 Nov 1987 United States Resorts International Casino, Atlantic City, New Jersey, US
5 Win 5–0 United States Harold Souther UD 8 29 Oct 1987 United States Memorial Auditorium, Lowell, Massachusetts, US
4 Win 4–0 United States Richard Holmes KO 1 10 Oct 1987 United States Attleboro, Massachusetts, US
3 Win 3–0 United States Richard Holloway KO 2 (4) 20 Dec 1986 United States Strand Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts, US
2 Win 2–0 United States Mike Bonislawski UD 4 27 Nov 1986 United States Strand Theatre, Boston, Massachusetts, US
1 Win 1–0 United States Julio Mercado KO 3 (4), 1:55 24 Oct 1986 United States Memorial Auditorium, Lowell, Massachusetts, US


  1. ^ Independent article on retirement
  2. ^ "Steve Collins coming out of retirement aged 48 to fight Roy Jones Jr". RTÉ News. 15 January 2013.
  3. ^ "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.
  4. ^ a b Soldier magazine, December 2018, page 48, article 'On the beat'.
  5. ^ Irish Independent article Former world champ signs up for Royal Military Police

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Regional boxing titles
Preceded by
Sam Storey
Irish middleweight champion
18 March 1988 – March 1995
Title next held by
Darren Sweeney
Preceded by
Kevin Watts
USBA middleweight champion
9 May 1989 – February 1990
Title next held by
Reggie Johnson
World boxing titles
Preceded by
Chris Pyatt
WBO middleweight champion
11 May 1994 – March 1995
Title next held by
Lonnie Bradley
Preceded by
Chris Eubank
WBO super-middleweight champion
18 March 1995 – 5 July 1997
Title next held by
Joe Calzaghe