Northern Ireland news

Former champions among mourners at boxing coach Paul McCullagh's funeral

Family and friends of Paul McCullagh gathered in west Belfast yesterday for the well-known boxing coach's funeral. Picture by Bill Smyth
Marie Louise McConville

MOURNERS gathered in west Belfast yesterday for the funeral of a well-known boxing coach who died suddenly.

Paul McCullagh, who was from Cloona Park, died on October 22 while on a pilgrimage to Medjugorje.

It is understood the grandfather, who was 72-years-old, had been on the pilgrimage with family when the tragedy happened.

Well-known among the boxing fraternity in Northern Ireland and highly regarded, Mr McCullagh was said to have made world champions.

Read More: Barney Eastwood and Dave Boy McAuley pay tribute to the late, great coach Paul McCullagh

The west Belfast man, who had strong connections with St John Bosco Boxing Club and the Immaculata Boxing Club, started his professional career as a coach at Barney Eastwood’s Castle Street gym.

Soon, he was coaching future stars, among them Dave `Boy' McAuley, who he trained to dethrone champion Duke McKenzie and win the IBF flyweight title in 1989.

McAuley went on to defend the belt five times over the next two years.

Yesterday, Dave `Boy' McAuley, boxing promoter, Barney Eastwood and Olympic medal-winning boxer, Hugh Russell were among those at the funeral.

Requiem Mass took place at St Luke's Church in Twinbook. Burial took place afterwards in Milltown Cemetery.

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