Boxing

Former Irish heavyweight champion Coleman Barrett battling COVID-19 in London hospital

Coleman Barrett's cousin.Francis Barrett represented Ireland at the Atlanta Olympic Games
Andy Watters

FORMER Irish heavyweight champion Coleman Barrett is in critical condition in a London hospital after being infected with the COVID-19 virus.

The Galway native has been based in the English capital, where he runs a business, for several years and his former coach at Galway Olympic John Mongan said everyone at the club was “hoping and praying” that Barrett would pull through.

“We heard that he has improved a small bit today,” explained Mongan yesterday.

“Hopefully he will come through it. He is a strong man so we are hoping and praying for him. He was critical yesterday (Monday) and we have all been hoping and praying for him. He is holding his own – he’s not getting any worse and hopefully he will start to get better.

“He has been living in London for the past number of years, he has a business over there but he comes back home to Ireland every now and again. He is a young man, he can fight it and we’re all hoping he pulls through.”

Barrett, cousin of Atlanta Olympic Games boxer and Ireland flag carrier Francie Barrett, was a bronze medal winner at World Junior Championships as an amateur and went on to win an Irish senior title. He made his professional debut in 2004 and five years later he entered the heavyweight Prizefighter competition; beating Scott Gammer and Carl Baker to make his way to the final against pre-tournament favourite Audley Harrison.

Harrison, a gold medal winner at super-heavyweight in the Sydney Olympics of 2000, never fulfilled his potential as a pro but the over-hyped Londoner remained a dangerous puncher and he stopped Barrett late in the second round at the ExCel Arena.

The following February, Barrett made his long-awaited home debut and beat Colin Kenna to win the Irish heavyweight title at the National Stadium in Dublin. He retired in October 2010 with a 13-1 record.

“We’re all hoping. Please God he’ll be ok,” added Mongan.

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