Civic reception in honour of world boxing champion

WORLD boxing champion Bernard Dunne is to be honoured in Cork this week on the same day a legendary Leeside-born boxer is commemorated.

Lord Mayor Brian Bermingham will host a civic reception for Dunne on Friday just hours after unveiling a plaque in the city centre to Cork-born Mick Leahy.

Leahy, who began his boxing in a gym in the Glen, moved to Coventry, England, where his career took off.

He turned professional in 1956, was naturalised in 1961, and became the first Irish-born boxer to win a British belt — taking the British Middleweight title in May 1963.

The next year he travelled to New Zealand and America to fight.

He became one of just three men to ever beat five-time World Middleweight Champion Sugar Ray Robinson.

But Leahy lost his title in December of that year to an “old enemy” Wally Swift.

One of his favourite memories was trying to wrest the European title from Hungarian Laszlo Papp, in Vienna in 1964.

Tragically, Mick Leahy acquired Alzheimer’s and is living in a care home in England.

Mr Bermingham will unveil a plaque in his honour in Bishop Lucey Park on the Grand Parade on Friday.

Later, he will host a civic reception for WBA Super Bantamweight champion Bernard Dunne in City Hall.

He decided to honour the Clondalkin man after his stunning win over former champion Ricardo Cordoba in the O2 Arena, Dublin last month.

Dunne was also crowned boxer of the month for March by the World Boxing Association.

Meanwhile, former senator and city councillor Mairin Quill will be honoured with a civic reception on Thursday for her life of public service.

She is not contesting the June local elections.


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