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Barry McGuigan

Barry McGuigan Profile Image
  • Nickname: The Clones Cyclone
  • Date of Birth: 28th February 1961 (63 years old)
  • Retired: 31st May 1989 (Career length: 8 years 0 months)
  • Status: Retired
  • Nationality: Ireland Flag Ireland
  • Birthplace: Clones, Ireland Flag Clones, Ireland
  • Residence: Faversham, Kent, United Kingdom Flag Faversham, Kent, United Kingdom
  • Division: Featherweight
  • Height: 168cm
  • Reach: 178cm
  • Stance: Orthodox
  • BoxRec: Barry McGuigan
  • Debut: 10th May 1981


Finbar Patrick McGuigan, affectionately known as "The Clones Cyclone," is a name that resonates deeply within the annals of Irish boxing history. Born on February 28, 1961, in Clones, Ireland, McGuigan's journey from a young amateur to a world champion is a tale of unwavering determination, exceptional skill, and the ability to unite people from all walks of life.

McGuigan's early years in boxing were marked by a rapid ascent through the ranks. Under the tutelage of trainers Danny McEntee and Frank Mulligan, he honed his craft and established himself as a force to be reckoned with. His victory in the 1976 All Ireland Amateur Championship, where he defeated Martin Brereton, was a testament to his burgeoning talent.

As an amateur, McGuigan proudly represented Northern Ireland in the 1978 Commonwealth Games in Edmonton and donned the Irish colours at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. His decision to become a UK citizen allowed him to compete for British titles, a move that would later prove instrumental in his professional career.

McGuigan's professional debut on May 10, 1981, was a harbinger of the success that lay ahead. His second-round TKO victory over Selvin Bell in Dublin set the stage for a career that would captivate the hearts and minds of boxing enthusiasts worldwide. Despite suffering a controversial loss to Peter Eubank in his third bout, McGuigan's resilience shone through as he avenged the defeat in a rematch, knocking out Eubank in the eighth round.

1982 was a defining one for McGuigan, as he notched up eight wins, seven of which came by way of knockout. However, a year also nearly derailed his career and life. In a bout against Young Ali on June 14, 1982, McGuigan emerged victorious by a sixth-round knockout, but the aftermath left an indelible mark on his soul. Ali fell into a coma from which he never recovered, leaving McGuigan grappling with the weight of the tragedy and questioning his future in the sport.

Undeterred, McGuigan pressed on, capturing the British and European featherweight titles in 1983 and 1984, respectively. His victories over former world title challengers Jose Caba and Felipe Orozco and contenders Paul DeVorce and Charm Chiteule solidified his position as the top featherweight challenger for the WBA crown.

The pinnacle of McGuigan's career arrived on June 8, 1985, when he faced long-reigning WBA featherweight champion Eusebio Pedroza at London's Loftus Road football stadium. In a masterful display of skill and determination, McGuigan dropped Pedroza in the seventh round and secured a unanimous decision after fifteen gruelling rounds. The victory earned him the WBA and lineal featherweight titles and cemented his status as a national hero.

Two successful defences against Bernard Taylor and Danilo Cabrera marked McGuigan's reign as champion. However, his third defence against the unheralded Steve Cruz in Las Vegas proved his undoing. Under the scorching desert sun and in oppressive 110-degree heat, McGuigan's body succumbed to dehydration, leading to a close decision loss and the end of his title reign.

The tragic loss of his father in 1987 compounded McGuigan's decision to retire from boxing. His father had been his greatest inspiration; without him, the drive to continue seemed to fade. However, after a brief hiatus and under the management of Frank Warren, McGuigan returned to the ring for a final chapter in his career. Despite notable victories over former world title challengers Nicky Perez, Francisco Tomas da Cruz, and contender Julio C├ęsar Miranda, McGuigan's career ended following a TKO loss to Jim McDonnell in 1989.

McGuigan's legacy extends far beyond his accomplishments in the ring. As a nonsectarian sporting ambassador for Northern Ireland during the turbulent times of The Troubles, he united people from both sides of the divide. His refusal to wear colours associated with either community and his decision to marry Sandra Mealiff, a Protestant, despite being a Roman Catholic himself, served as powerful symbols of unity and hope.

In 2005, McGuigan was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in recognition of his contributions to the sport and his role as a unifying figure. His post-boxing career has been marked by his dedication to promoting the sport and protecting the rights of boxers. As the founder and CEO of Cyclone Promotions and the president of the Professional Boxing Association, McGuigan continues to shape the future of boxing.

The Clones Cyclone's impact on Irish boxing and the wider sporting world is immeasurable. His ability to transcend political and religious boundaries, his unwavering commitment to his craft, and his enduring legacy as a champion both in and out of the ring have earned him a special place in the hearts of fans around the globe.