Boxing

'Posh Boy' Colm Murphy primed to build career in pro ranks

Former St George's bantamweight Colm Murphy has signed professional forms with Belfast promoter Mark Dunlop, and hopes his make his debut later this summer
Neil Loughran

HE may be from the not-so-mean streets of BT9, but Colm Murphy is determined to show he is much more than just a nice guy after becoming the latest recruit to Mark Dunlop’s growing stable.

Under the tutelage of Danny Boyd and Jim McGivern at St George’s ABC, the 21-year-old enjoyed an impressive amateur career that saw him land titles at different grades, not to mention his unforgettable Ulster Elite final showdowns with friend and foe, JP Hale.

Murphy also picked up bronze at the 2017 Commonwealth Youth Games but, rather than trying to earn a spot at next year’s senior Commonwealths in Birmingham, he has switched over to the professional ranks.

Given that he has just qualified as a quantity surveyor from John Moore's University in Liverpool, and will begin a part-time Masters in construction law and adjudication online from Aberdeen’s Robert Gordon University in September, the often brutal world of boxing might appear an unusual career path.

But the former Methody College student has always loved the rough stuff, and Murphy is looking forward to proving people wrong – just as he has done since first lacing up gloves.

“People do think I’m a bit mad going down the professional boxing route because it’s not going to be an easy road. I know this.

“But I can’t wait to prove people wrong about me. People do still doubt me, they don’t think professional boxing is for me, but I’m going to give it a go.

“When I first started boxing I went to St Agnes’s and they used to call me ‘posh boy’, so that’s the name I’ve decided to go with - Colm ‘Posh Boy’ Murphy. My family thought it was a cracker.

“It goes hand in hand because I grew up on the Malone Road before my parents separated, and then I moved to the Ormeau Road. When I went to Methody then they were like ‘aw, you live in social housing’ but then I’d go to the boxing club and they were calling me a Methody ‘posh boy’ so either way you couldn’t win.

“I just think it’s brilliant.”

Murphy is rightly proud of his amateur career and all that he achieved, but admits his omission from the Irish U22 squad bound for the 2019 European Championships left him disillusioned with the fight game.

“I almost quit boxing after not getting to go to the Europeans.

“I won the Irish title, which I never thought I’d even be able to get. It should have been the high point of my life, wearing an Irish vest, going to Russia and representing my country.

“But the powers that be told me I wasn’t ready; I didn’t have my man strength. They had their minds already made up, the team was already picked and they knew who they were bringing from the first week.

“That really did damage my mental health, I’m not afraid to say. I went back to uni and I would still get up and train but at night I developed a bit of a binge-eating disorder, I would just eat until I wanted to sleep. That went on for maybe a month.

“Going into the ABA Championships over in England I didn’t even really want to box and ended up getting beat in my first fight.”

And that’s why, when local promoter Dunlop got in touch in recent months, he saw it as an opportunity not to be missed.

Murphy had been out in Dubai at the start of the year, training in pro gyms and sparring three times a week as well as featuring on the undercard of Belfast cruiser Steven Ward’s January exhibition against former World's Strongest Man Hafthor Bjornsson.

All those experiences whetted the appetite, and any thoughts of hanging about to try and qualify for Birmingham 2022 soon went out the window – once he had recovered from Covid, that is.

“The Tuesday after that event I was sparring and felt sick afterwards. That night I got this mad fever, tossing and turning, and I just knew. I had to isolate for 10 days, which isn’t good for anyone, especially someone like me who just wants to keep going.

“It really did take a toll. I slept maybe 14 hours a day, I was wiped out. It was a real eye-opener, I’m in very good condition and it showed it is no joke.

“When Mark reached out to me, I knew it was an opportunity I couldn’t turn down. It’s a big risk I’m taking, I’m missing out on the Commonwealth Games which I believe I was in the running to qualify for.

“But when opportunity knocks, you have to take it. Along the line I can guarantee there will be a few fight of the year contenders - that’s just me. I love this game.

“I’m going to have to switch up my style a bit because in the past I would take two to land one; it can’t be that way any more. But I’ll also say, me with eight ounce gloves on, I can hit hard. I’m setting my feet, there’s going to be knockouts coming.

“I’ve already boxed in front of big crowds at the Ulster Hall and I believe I’ll be in the Ulster Hall again. I’ll look forward to that – being back in Belfast, putting on a show for my home crowd and it will be packed out with my supporters.”

Dunlop too, whose stable already includes the likes of James Tennyson and Tommy McCarthy, is delighted to welcome Murphy to the team.

“I have been following him for some time, he had a great amateur career and has an incredible story to tell on how he got this far.

“I am excited he is continuing his journey with me and look forward to guide him to the top.”

Murphy, who will start out at featherweight, is hoping to make his pro bow at the end of the summer and admits that, after so long without a competitive bout, he is chomping at the bit to get back into the ring.

“Honestly, I am ready to pounce on my first opponent now,” he says, before smiling, “then probably invite him over for a cup of tea after.”

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Boxing