Finbar Patrick McGuigan (born
February 28 1961), known as Barry McGuigan and nicknamed The Clones
Cyclone, is a retired Irish professional boxer from Clones, County
Monaghan, Ireland who became a World Boxing Association featherweight
champion. Barry was a fan favourite for Irish and British audiences,
as he represented neutrality and peace in a time when Northern Ireland
(where he lived was divided as part of The Troubles. He founded, and
is the current President of, the Professional Boxing Association (PBA).
McGuigan is the CEO and founder of Cyclone Promotions.
McGuigan was born in Clones, County Monaghan, Ireland. His father
was singer Pat McGuigan (died 1987). He represented Northern Ireland
in the Commonwealth Games at Edmonton 1978 and represented Ireland
at the 1980 Summer Olympics in Moscow. Pat McGuigan sang "Danny Boy"
before several of his son's matches. This fact inspired the Hacienda
Brothers' song "If Daddy Don't Sing Danny Boy", written by boxer and
musician Chris Gaffney.
During his 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 normally filled to capacity. McGuigan is a Roman Catholic,
and at a time when Roman Catholics and Protestants were clashing during
The Troubles, he married a Protestant, Sandra and they remain married
after some three decades.
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).
He began his professional boxing career on May10, 1981, beating
Selwyn Bell by knockout in two rounds in Dublin. After another win,
he suffered hs 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 Pizzaro, and then he was given a rematch with Eubanks.
The second time around, McGuigan prevailed, by a knockout in the eight
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 June 1982, McGuigan won by a knockout in six rounds;
Ali fell into a coma from wich he never recovered. According to the
book The Ring: Boxing The 2th Century, this affected McGuigan
so much he was not sue 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, winnning 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.
On November 16, 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.
In 1985, McGuigan met former world
featherweight champon Juan Laporte and won by a decision after ten
rounds. Folowing 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, came