Lee Murtagh Boxing Diary

Parades & Frustration

A few weeks ago I was proud to be invited  to the St. Patricks Day parade, representing County Down. It was the first time I’d ever had an invite and it was nice to show the belt off to the local Irish community and have a few pictures taken.
A couple of days later I took three of the Bethlehem boxers over to Mayo and also went on a bit of a fact finding mission with regards to putting on a few shows there. I’ve said in a     previous issue, I have a few boxers coming over to train at Bethlehem and I’ve put them on at my own shows. However, I’d love to have a hand in revitalising boxing in Ireland and I’ve found a couple of suitable venues. A few of the Bethlehem lads came with me and we all did a bit of training at a few clubs there. So hopefully I’ll be able to come up with something in the next few months.
Regular readers will know I struggle with the bureaucracy and petty rules of the British Boxing Board of Control. That’s the reason my shows are licensed by the European Boxing Federation. A few years ago the World Boxing Union was a recognised body in the UK until the BBBC decided to stop sanctioning them. It wasn’t that it was some kind of half baked, cobbled together outfit, at the time Ricky Hatton was their light welter weight champion and WBU champions have included George Foreman and Thomas Hearns.
The WBU carried on just about everywhere else throughout the world and just recently I’ve been in talks with them and the EBF about    putting on one of their title fights on one of my shows. I’d like to be able to put professional fighters and semi professional fighters on the same show, something that’s done in just about every country in the world apart from here.
A really frustrating time regarding defending my Irish Light Middleweight title. I felt like I was on a bit of a merry go round as to whether I’d got my dream defence at Madison Square Gardens on the undercard of Tyson Fury against Steve Cunningham. I was dealing with Mike Hennessy who is the Fury’s promoter over here. However it seems like the undercard is beyond his control as they need American fighters on the card to sell tickets for the bout as Tyson Fury is virtually unknown over there. So it looks like it’s dead in the water.  Mike offered me a fight on the undercard of the next James DeGale fight but I’d just prefer to do something a bit different.
Now, friends and regular readers know how stubborn I can be, I never gave up on the Irish title and eventually got it on my fifth attempt. So now I’m not giving up on New York, I’m self  managed so I’ve taken matter into my own hands and already had a couple of positive responses from New York & New Jersey   promotors, my opponent Phil Fury (he’s the Boxing Union of Irelands number one contender, so I can’t really fight anyone else) is fully in the loop as to what’s happening and is happy to go with whatever I turn up. So it’s a bit like it has been in the last couple of issues – hopefully I’ll have more news next time!


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