Back in the day: in The Irish News on Jan 28 1997: Darren Corbett

OVER THE WEIGHT...Nigel Rafferty was 4lbs too heavy at the first weigh-in last night for his Irish title shot against Darren Corbett.

LEANER, meaner, and going places. Darren Corbett has shipped the pounds, coined an Irish title, put out the word he's gunning for Commonwealth king Chris Okoh, British belt-holder Johnny Nelson, even WBO champion Ralf Rocchigiani in time. But last night there was a near sensation on the scales when his opponent for tonight's latest Belfast fight night didn't make the weight – at the first time of asking.

Nigel Rafferty weighed in 3lb 12ozs over championship limit and was sent to the sauna and given two hours to make the grade.

Rafferty came back to weigh13st 8lbs 2oz, which was verified by British Boxing Board official Stanley Anderson who gave the all-clear for the title match to take place. Corbett scaled one pound under the limit – and gained an important psychological advantage.

Ireland's 24-year-old cruiserweight champion, is considered ready to drive for one or other of the main players in the division this year.

Barry Hearn, his manager and promoter, reckons Corbett's capable of muscling in on the best of British, and possibly Germany's 33-year-old world titlist before too long. Tonight he faces an old rival, a journeyman he has twice chiseled out middle distance points wins against

DERBY veteran defender Paul McGrath is set for a dramatic return to the Republic of Ireland side against Wales on February 11 when manager Mick McCarthy names his squad for the friendly clash today.

The 37-year-old McGrath last played for Ireland when he won a record 82nd cap in the 2-0 defeat by the Czech Republic in Prague last April.

McCarthy has always insisted that his players must be playing regular first team football to be guaranteed selection in the national side

DECLAN Boyle could make his Derry City debut in tonight's Irish News Cup semi-final first leg against Dundalk at Oriel Park, kickoff 7.30pm.

Derry have agreed a fivefigure sum with Glasgow Celtic for the former Sligo Rovers and Finn Harps' player and providing all the relevant forms were filled and forwarded in time last night, he will be in the side. More recognised as a centre-half,

Boyle, who has signed a three-and-a-half year contract with Derry City, has played at rightback with Celtic's reserve side and could line-up in that position this evening. Boyle's signing has been well timed as City are not without their problems.

Ritchie Purdy has been added to the injury list, his hamstring injury ruling him for at least a month, forcing Felix Healy to re-shuffle his team.

ANTRIM football manager John Morrison has offered to visit every club in the Saffron county.

The Armagh man has already visited a host of clubs in the county including Cargin, Ballymena, Ardoyne and Rasharkin.

A Cargin official said last night that Morrison's expertise has proved invaluable to both the players and coaches in the Toome club.

TERRY Murphy proved lightning can strike twice by scoring a second shock victory over Ronnie O'Sullivan inside two months at Newport last night.

O'Sullivan went into the second round engagement having written off his chances of capturing the Regal Welsh Open title and this pessimism was justified as he lost 5-4.


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