Lee Murtagh – Fighting Down in Bethlehem





“The two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.”  Mark Twain  Well, it’s finally happening, ‘Fighting Down in Bethlehem’ aka ‘Lee the Movie’ sees its official premier in Leeds. I think there were a few people out there who thought I was on a wind up and the film didn’t exist but as the saying goes.. “Coming soon to a cinema near you!!

It’s been picked as one of the official selections for the 28th Leeds film festival, I had a lump in my throat when Ron (the filmmaker) told me that. So the first premier will be at the new Chapel FM in Seacroft. I think all the tickets will have gone by the time this is published as there is a limited capacity. However the second premier will be at the much bigger Vue Cinema at the Lights. I haven’t seen the film, I want to see it for the first time with family and friends. in my head it’s my life story compressed into two years; ambitions to win the Irish title and fight in America. I think in film maker Ronald J. Wright’s  (to give him his full title) eyes it’s a story of hope, dreams and human emotion. From my perspective, I hope it comes over going to America was more about boxing and dreams than money and I hope I don’t come over as a court jester! After it’s double premier he’ll be taking it round various film festivals, I really do wish him every success with it and would like to take this opportunity to thank Ron for devoting so much time to this and I thought rather than me ramble anymore I’d just put in the ‘blurb’ he wrote for the film, I must admit I had another lump in my throat when I read it.


‘Shot over 16 months by one filmmaker with a prosumer camera and a tripod, Fighting Down In Bethlehem is a raw, uplifting feature film documentary following Lee Murtagh, the oldest Irish boxing champion in history (and the first-ever Leeds born Irish champion), as he runs the tiny but inspirational Bethlehem Boxing Club in the tough East End Park area  of Leeds, and embarks upon an unexpected adventure of a lifetime, to fight Hector Camacho Jnr. in New York. Gritty, honest, and ultimately deeply moving, Fighting Down In  Bethlehem captures the passion and heart of boxers fighting not for huge prize money and fame on Sky Sports, but in working mens’ clubs and community centres, for pride, and a sense of self-worth, in an environment where they’ve been told from childhood what their limits are going to be. It’s about how one place, and its eccentric and unconventional founder, brings hope to ordinary people who yearn to “be more”. And it’s about that champion following one last dream of his own, a journey which brings him friendship, joy, disappointment and personal loss. Fighting Down In Bethlehem dares to believe that anyone, from any walk of life, can achieve some kind of dream, and “be somebody”. Dare To Dream.’


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