Seconds Out: Tributes paid to stalwarts of boxing scene, Harry Doherty and Geordie Boyd
BOXING bid farewell to two stalwarts of the local fight game over the past week - Harry Doherty and Geordie Boyd.
Derry native Doherty, who died last week, was an influential figure in Irish boxing for decades, and was heavily involved in the biggest amateur event to ever take place in Ireland.
The 2001 World Championships, which were held at Belfast’s Odyssey Arena, showcased the talents of a host of future world stars, including Cuba’s two-time Olympic gold medallist Guillermo Rigondeaux and the English pair, Carl Froch and David Haye.
Former Irish Athletic Boxing Association (IABA) vice-president Sean Canavan was a close friend of Harry Doherty, who received a special award from the IABA for services to boxing in 2014.
And he remembers a man who was “always available to help anyone”.
“We had a very solid partnership all through the years,” he said.
“Harry was just a very fair man, very dependable in everything he did. He was very much involved in what I would still consider the best-organised boxing event Ireland has seen, the 2001 World Championships.
“We were at meetings for something like two-and-a-half years in the lead-up to that, then it was well-run and well-organised. There were good people involved, and he was one of them – he was a big figure in that.
“Harry Doherty was a gentleman, and a good friend.”
Geordie Boyd, meanwhile, passed away at the weekend.
A long-serving medical registrar with the County Antrim board, he was also a stalwart of the St John Bosco club in west Belfast – serving in a host roles including coach, secretary and club president.
He was also a good friend to so many, including Gerard McCafferty. The Bosco coach cannot remember the club without him being a part of it and, with much-needed works nearing completion, McCafferty had hoped Geordie would be at its official opening next month.
Sadly it wasn’t to be, but his legacy and the role played in keeping the club running through the years “will never be forgotten.”
“Geordie, along with his late wife Mary, was an unsung hero,” said McCafferty.
“If you needed to get a medical card, it was an open door policy - just land at Geordie’s house and you’d be sorted that day. Every boxer that you see today would have gone through their books at some stage.
“In terms of the club, Geordie has always been a big figure. He was a joiner by trade, a handyman, so anything that ever needed patched up he was always on the ball.
“He was never one of those coaches who came in and would be doing pads or whatever… Geordie would sit in the background and watch what other coaches were saying, then maybe come up and say a few words. And what he did say made a lot of sense.”
Going back to his own fighting days, McCafferty has only fond memories of Geordie’s role in the corner.
“When me and my brothers were boxing, we had my father [Sean] and my uncle Terry in the corner. Sometimes when it’s family, you can get a bit emotional or nervous, where Geordie would’ve calmed everything down.
“Geordie loved a good laugh, loved a bit of craic. Doing the medical cards for County Antrim, I think he enjoyed the company and people coming up to the house.
“A lovely man, and someone who will be very sadly missed by us all.”
FRYERS GETS OFF TO WINNING START AT EUROS
CAITLIN Fryers maintained Ireland’s brilliant start at the European Championships in Montenegro when she registered a 3-2 split decision victory over England’s Savannah Stubley yesterday.
The Mac woman showed some real heart to join Irish team-mates Shannon Sweeney, Amy Broadhurst, Carly McNaul, Aoife O’Rourke, Michaela Walsh, Kellie Harrington, Kaci Rock and Christina Desmond in the next round, with Fryers looking ahead to the light-fly quarter-finals tomorrow.
But she had to battle back after trailing 3-2 on the judges’ scorecards after the first round, a more attacking approach paying off in the second as Fryers levelled it up with a 3-2 split in her favour.
That left it all on the last round, and the 22-year-old picked up where she left off on the way to having her hand raised.
Earlier in the day, Mayo minimumweight Sweeney made relatively light work of Armenia's Gayane Ter-Bargseghyan to move one step closer to a medal.
Sweeney started strongly, imposing her will on Ter-Bargseghyan, and was always one step ahead of her opponent as the fight wore on, landing some eye-catching shots in the final round to seal the deal.
After impressive opening wins, Desmond, World champion Broadhurst and fellow Commonwealth Games medallists Walsh and McNaul return to the ring today, while there is little respite for Sweeney as she is also straight back to action.
Olympic golden girl Harrington will have her third fight of the championships tomorrow, as does fellow Olympian O’Rourke, while Rock makes her bow in Budva having received a bye into the 66kg quarter-final.
DUNNE TAKES UP DIRECTOR POST IN INDIA
FORMER world champion Bernard Dunne has been confirmed as the new High Performance director of Indian boxing.
Dunne - who held the same role with the Irish Athletic Boxing Association from 2017 until earlier this year - had been linked with the vacant position in recent months, with the wealth of talent at his disposal evident during the recent Commonwealth Games.
The Boxing Federation of India confirmed his appointment on social media, stating that the former world bantamweight champion will take “boxing to the next level” and saying they are “focused to win medals” at the 2024 Paris Olympics with him at the helm.
“India has huge boxing talent and its boxers have been performing exceedingly well,” said Dunne in a statement.
“It will be a great opportunity for me to work with them and contribute to their success. I’m very excited to join the team and take the standards of Indian boxing to a new high altogether.”
Dunne, who was appointed IABA High Performance director in the wake of the Rio Olympics, resigned from the post earlier this year. He had been on leave since the previous August following his return from the Tokyo Olympics.
The Games were the high point of his tenure, with Kellie Harrington winning a gold medal and Belfast’s Aidan Walsh securing a bronze in Japan.