Finbar Patrick 'Barry' McGuigan MBE (born 28 February 1961) is an Irish retired professional boxer and current boxing promoter. Born in Clones, County Monaghan, Ireland, McGuigan was nicknamed The Clones Cyclone and became the WBA and lineal featherweight world champion. He was very popular with Irish and British audiences, representing neutrality and peace in a time when Northern Ireland, where he lived, was divided by The Troubles. In 2005 he was inducted into the international boxing hall of fame.

He founded, and is the current president of, the Professional Boxing Association (PBA).[1] McGuigan is the founder and CEO of Cyclone Promotions, managing boxers including Scotland's Josh Taylor.


Barry McGuigan was born in Clones, County Monaghan, Ireland. His father was singer Pat McGuigan (died 1987). Pat McGuigan sang "Danny Boy" before several of his son's matches. This inspired the Hacienda Brothers' song "If Daddy Don't Sing Danny Boy", written by boxer and musician Chris Gaffney.[2]

As an amateur, McGuigan represented Northern Ireland in the Commonwealth Games at Edmonton in 1978 and represented Ireland at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. He became a British citizen so that he could compete for British titles.[3][4]

During his professional career, McGuigan fought at a number of venues in Ireland and Britain. He attracted an enormous following in the mid-1980s, particularly to the King's Hall in Belfast which he regularly filled to capacity. McGuigan is a Roman Catholic, and at a time when Catholics and Protestants were clashing during The Troubles, he married a Protestant, Sandra, and they remain married after some three decades.[5]

McGuigan stated that the support he received from both Protestants and Catholics in Ireland was because:

"[the] shadows ran deep. And my fights felt a little like sunshine. Both sides would say: 'Leave the fighting to McGuigan.' You see, it was also entertainment – people loved to forget the Troubles a while. The fact that I wouldn't wear green, white and gold or put on a sign that said this is who I represent was powerful. It was a very mature and dangerous thing to do. I wouldn't choose sides. People appreciated that."[6]

As a non-sectarian sporting ambassador for Northern Ireland, he drew on the experience of Joey Dunlop and George Best. He and his wife have both been patrons for children's cancer charity CLIC Sargent.

Amateur career

McGuigan began his juvenile boxing career at the Wattlebridge Amateur Boxing Club, County Fermanagh and later moved to the Smithborough Amateur Boxing Club, County Monaghan. Under the guidance of trainers Danny McEntee and Frank Mulligan he rapidly established himself as an exceptional boxer. He won the All Ireland Amateur Championship in 1976 having defeated Martin Brereton. Notable opponents during his teenage years included Dubliner James Coughlan, whom he defeated at the age of 15, as well as Gordon McNeil (of Heaton, Newcastle upon Tyne) and Eric Clarke (of Hackney, London).[citation needed]

McGuigan represented Northern Ireland in the Commonwealth Games at Edmonton 1978 and represented Ireland at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. He decided to turn professional as he could no longer avoid the challenge of Carl Naughton of the Sheldon Heath Boxing Club stating "This Naughton fella is just too feckin' hard for me boys I'd sooner fancy my chances against either Eusebio Pedroza or Terry McCann."

Professional career

He began his professional boxing career on 10 May 1981, beating Selwyn Bell by knockout in two rounds in Dublin. After another win, he suffered his first setback, losing a hotly disputed decision to Peter Eubanks (brother of Chris Eubank) over eight rounds at Wembley. After his first loss, McGuigan notched up two more wins, including one over Terry Pizzarro, and then he was given a rematch with Eubanks. The second time around, McGuigan prevailed, by a knockout in the eighth round.[citation needed]

In 1982, McGuigan won eight fights, seven by knockout. One of these, however, almost destroyed his career and his life. Opposed by Young Ali, on 14 June 1982, McGuigan won by a knockout in six rounds; Ali fell into a coma from which he never recovered.[7] According to the book The Ring: Boxing The 20th Century, this affected McGuigan so much he was not sure he wanted to carry on as a boxer. He also defeated Paul Huggins and Angelo Licata during this period. In 1983, he won four fights, winning the British Title against Vernon Penprase, and including his first trip to fight outside Europe (when he beat Samuel Meck by a knockout in six in Ontario, Canada), before getting his first try at a European title.[citation needed]

On 16 November, Italy's Valerio Nati defended his European Featherweight belt versus McGuigan in Belfast, and McGuigan won the crown with a knockout in the sixth round. He then became the number one Featherweight challenger in the World Boxing Association. In 1984, he won six bouts, all by knockout. Among the fighters he beat were former world title challengers Jose Caba and Felipe Orozco. He also beat contenders Paul DeVorce and Charm Chiteule and retained his British and European titles against Clyde Ruan and the latter belt against Esteban Eguia to keep his chance at a World Championship attempt alive.[citation needed]

In 1985, McGuigan met former world featherweight champion Juan Laporte and won by a decision after ten rounds. Following one more win (a defence of his European Title against Farid Gallouze), he finally got his world title try when the long reigning WBA featherweight champion, Eusebio Pedroza of Panama, went to London to put his title on the line at Loftus Road football stadium. McGuigan became the champion by dropping Pedroza in round seven and winning a unanimous fifteen-round decision in a fight refereed by hall of fame referee Stanley Christodoulou. McGuigan and his wife were feted in a public reception through the streets of Belfast that attracted several hundred thousand spectators. Later that year, he was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year, becoming the first person not born in the United Kingdom to win the award.[8]

McGuigan made his first defence against American Bernard Taylor, who was stopped in the ninth round, and then against Danilo Cabrera, who got knocked out in fourteen rounds. This proved to be a controversial stoppage: the fight was stopped after the challenger bent over to pick up his mouthpiece after losing it, a practice that is allowed in many countries but not in Ireland. Cabrera was not aware of this, and the fight was stopped. Although Cabrera's corner protested the outcome, McGuigan remained the winner by a knockout. For his next defence, he went to Las Vegas in June 1986, where he faced the relatively unknown Stevie Cruz from Texas in what proved a gruelling fifteen-round title bout under a blazing sun. McGuigan held a lead halfway through, but suffered dehydration because of the extreme heat and wilted near the end, being dropped in rounds ten and fifteen. He eventually lost a close decision and his world belt, which he was never to reclaim. After the fight, McGuigan required hospitalisation because of his dehydrated state.[citation needed]

After that fight he retired, partly due to the death of his father in 1987. He used to say his father was his greatest inspiration and, after his death, apparently felt no reason to continue boxing. However, he returned to the ring between 1988 and 1989, beating former world title challengers Nicky Perez and Francisco Tomas da Cruz, as well as contender Julio César Miranda, before losing to former EBU featherweight champ and future WBC and WBA super featherweight challenger Jim McDonnell by a technical knockout when a McDonnell left hook opened gash over McGuigan's right eye in 2nd round that caused the referee to stop the fight in the 4th. He retired permanently from boxing. His record was 32 wins and 3 losses, with 28 wins by knockout. In January 2005, McGuigan was elected into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.[citation needed]

Professional boxing record

Professional record summary
35 fights 32 wins 3 losses
By knockout 28 1
By decision 4 2
Res. Record Opponent Type Rd., Time Date Location Notes
Loss 32–3 United Kingdom Jim McDonnell TKO 4 (10) 21 May 1989 United Kingdom G-Mex Leisure Centre, Manchester Stopped on cuts.
Win 32–2 Argentina Julio César Miranda TKO 8 (10) 1 Dec 1988 United Kingdom Pickett's Lock Stadium, Edmonton, London
Win 31–2 Brazil Francisco Tomas Da Cruz TKO 4 (10) 25 Jun 1988 United Kingdom Kenilworth Road, Luton, Bedfordshire
Win 30–2 United States Nicky Perez KO 4 (10) 4 Apr 1988 United Kingdom Alexandra Pavilion, London
Loss 29–2 United States Steve Cruz UD 15 23 Jun 1986 United States Caesar's Palace, Outdoor Arena, Las Vegas Lost WBA & Lineal Featherweight titles.
Win 29–1 Dominican Republic Danilo Cabrera TKO 14 (15) 15 Feb 1986 Republic of Ireland The Royal Dublin Society, Dublin, Ireland Defended WBA & Lineal Featherweight titles.
Win 28–1 United States Bernard Taylor TKO 8 (15) 28 Sep 1985 United Kingdom King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland Defended WBA & Lineal Featherweight titles.
Win 27–1 Panama Eusebio Pedroza UD 15 8 Jun 1985 United Kingdom Loftus Road Stadium, Shepherd's Bush, London Won WBA & Lineal Featherweight titles.
Win 26–1 France Farid Gallouze TKO 2 (12) 26 Mar 1985 United Kingdom The Arena, Wembley, London Defended EBU (European) Featherweight title.
Win 25–1 Puerto Rico Juan Laporte PTS 10 23 Feb 1985 United Kingdom King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Win 24–1 United Kingdom Clyde Ruan KO 4 (12) 19 Dec 1984 United Kingdom Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland Defended EBU (European) and BBBofC British Featherweight titles.
Win 23–1 Colombia Felipe Orozco KO 2 (10) 13 Oct 1984 United Kingdom King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Win 22–1 United States Paul DeVorce TKO 5 (10) 30 Jun 1984 United Kingdom King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Win 21–1 Spain Esteban Eguia TKO 3 (12) 5 Jun 1984 United Kingdom Royal Albert Hall, Kensington, London Defended EBU (European) Featherweight title.
Win 20–1 Dominican Republic Jose Caba TKO 7 (10) 4 Apr 1984 United Kingdom King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Win 19–1 Zambia Charm Chiteule TKO 10 (10) 25 Jan 1984 United Kingdom King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Win 18–1 Italy Valerio Nati KO 6 (12) 16 Nov 1983 United Kingdom King's Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland Won EBU (European) Featherweight title.
Win 17–1 Dominican Republic Ruben Dario Herasme KO 2 (10) 5 Oct 1983 United Kingdom Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Win 16–1 United States Lavon McGowan KO 1 (10) 9 Jul 1983 United States DiVinci Manoe, Chicago, Illinois
Win 15–1 France Samuel Meck RTD 6 (10) 22 May 1983 Republic of Ireland Navan Exhibition Centre, Navan, Ireland
Win 14–1 United Kingdom Vernon Penprase TKO 2 (12) 12 Apr 1983 United Kingdom Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland Won BBBofC British Featherweight title.
Win 13–1 United Kingdom Paul Huggins TKO 5 (12) 9 Nov 1982 United Kingdom Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Win 12–1 United Kingdom Jimmy Duncan RTD 4 (10) 5 Oct 1982 United Kingdom Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Win 11–1 Nigeria Young Ali KO 6 (8) 14 June 1982 United Kingdom World Sporting Club, Mayfair, London Young Ali died after 5 months in a coma, following this fight.
Win 10–1 United Kingdom Gary Lucas KO 1 (8) 22 Apr 1982 United Kingdom Lakeland Forum, Enniskillen, Northern Ireland
Win 9–1 Belgium Angelo Licata TKO 2 (8) 23 Mar 1982 United Kingdom Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Win 8–1 Spain Angel Oliver TKO 3 (8) 23 Feb 1982 United Kingdom Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Win 7–1 United Kingdom Ian Murray TKO 3 (8) 8 Feb 1982 United Kingdom World Sporting Club, Mayfair, London
Win 6–1 Spain Jose Luis De La Sagra PTS 8 27 Jan 1982 United Kingdom Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Win 5–1 United Kingdom Peter Eubanks TKO 8 (8) 8 Dec 1981 United Kingdom Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Win 4–1 Puerto Rico Terry Pizzaro TKO 4 (8) 26 Oct 1981 United Kingdom Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Win 3–1 Belgium Jean-Marc Renard PTS 8 22 Sep 1981 United Kingdom Ulster Hall, Belfast, Northern Ireland
Loss 2–1 United Kingdom Peter Eubanks PTS 8 3 Aug 1981 United Kingdom Corn Exchange, Brighton, Sussex
Win 2–0 United Kingdom Gary Lucas TKO 4 (6) 20 Jun 1981 United Kingdom Empire Pool, Wembley, London
Win 1–0 United Kingdom Selvin Bell TKO 2 (6) 10 May 1981 Republic of Ireland Dalymount Park, Dublin, Ireland Professional debut.

After boxing

McGuigan attempted to establish an association to protect the rights of boxers against what he, and others, considered omnipotent managers and promoters. In this regard, he had had a difficult time during his own career. A very close relationship with his manager deteriorated badly over time and led to a successful libel case against him by his former manager several years later. In the 1980s he was a chat show host on BBC1.[citation needed]

McGuigan currently lives near Whitstable, Kent with his wife and children. He currently works as a boxing pundit for Sky TV. He has tried his hand at acting, appearing in the movie Malicious Intent in 2000. He also served as referee on the UK television game show Grudge Match, hosted by Nick Weir.

Two biographies of McGuigan have been written. He appeared in the third series of ITV's Hell's Kitchen in September 2007, where he was eventually crowned the winner after winning the public vote.

He is the Chairman of the Professional Boxing Association, an organisation he has wanted to set up for over a decade, with the intention of teaching boxers the importance of education, and indeed educating them.[1]

In August 2009, he co-presented Charity Lords of the Ring with Lucy Kennedy.[9]

McGuigan is currently a boxing manager and promoter.

Other recognition

McGuigan was inducted into the World Boxing Hall of Fame and International Boxing Hall of Fame in 2005. He also fought in Ring Magazine's 1986 Fight of the Year, and was a title character in the 8-bit computer game, Barry McGuigan World Championship Boxing. In 1985 he was voted BBC Sports Personality of the Year.[citation needed]

He was honoured in an Irish ballad song released in 1984, "Clones Cyclone", written by Johnny McCauley and sung by Big Tom.[10] The popular German musician and composer Udo Lindenberg also dedicated his song "Jonny Boxer" to McGuigan in 1986. The Bournemouth-based band The Worry Dolls named a track "Barry McGuigan" on their album, The Man That Time Forgot.[11]

See also


  1. ^ a b "Barry McGuigan profile". 7 May 2014. Retrieved 8 May 2014. 
  2. ^ Hacienda, The. "NPR interviewwith Chris Gaffney". Npr.org. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Trickett, Alex (25 October 2005). "Boxing by the weights". BBC News. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  4. ^ Holden, Kit (8 November 2008). "Boxing: Calzaghe's last stand". The Independent. Retrieved 19 January 2013. 
  5. ^ From direct interviews on Mrs and Mrs for ITV2 Archived 17 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine., 22 June 2010.
  6. ^ McRae, Donald (4 June 2011). "Barry McGuigan's past compels him to make Carl Frampton the future". The Guardian. 
  7. ^ https://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/profiles/barry-mcguigan-every-fighter-has-a-story-that-could-break-your-heart-2293134.html
  8. ^ "BBC Sports Personality". virginmedia.com. Retrieved 6 March 2011. 
  9. ^ "Celebrity Diary: Barry McGuigan". Evening Herald. 21 August 2009. Archived from the original on 18 February 2013. Retrieved 22 August 2009. 
  10. ^ "Big Tom sings "Clones Cyclone"". Retrieved 15 April 2011. 
  11. ^ The Man That Time Forgot, amazon.com; accessed 8 May 2014.

External links

Preceded by
Eusebio Pedroza
WBA Featherweight Champion
June 8, 1985 - June 23, 1986
Succeeded by
Steve Cruz
The Ring featherweight champion
June 8, 1985 - June 23, 1986
Lineal Featherweight Champion
June 8, 1985 - June 23, 1986