With freshly crowned middleweight champion Andy Lee adding another Irish world title to those already held by Carl Frampton and Katie Taylor, armchair boxing enthusiast Mark Scully of Gorey, County Wexford, has spoken about his relative happiness that such successes are being enjoyed by his compatriots at the highest level of the sport.
“There’s no doubt we’re in the middle of an outstanding era for boxing in Ireland. As long as you factor in the big wins by Protestants from the North. And Travellers. And girls”, he said.
“Don’t get me wrong, I never want any of them to lose. It’s just I feel sometimes I’m on the outside looking in.”
Belfast man Frampton took the IBF super-bantamweight belt after a hard fought 12 rounds against Spain’s Kiko Martinez in September. Then just last month, Bray’s Taylor successfully defended her world amateur title for a record fourth time. To round out an historic year, the unfancied Lee pulled out a win via sixth round stoppage in Las Vegas at the weekend against pre-fight favourite, Matvey Korobov.
Doorstep Bible Thumpers
“I had been tempted to get tickets for Belfast. Carl is such an amazing talent”, admitted Scully.
“But you’d never know who you might find yourself sitting beside up there.”
Frampton had a stellar amateur career before turning professional, winning Irish Senior titles at two weights, and taking silver for Ireland at the European Championships in 2007.
“Like, Nordie is one thing, but not even Catholic? Although I suppose I genuinely am happy for him, and in a way I’m trying to be happy about it for myself as well”, Scully said.
“And what can you say about Katie? Five-time world champ. Olympic Gold. No getting away from it, she’s some girl.
“As in, not a man. Christian, too, I heard.”
Boston. Strong. Boy.
Unsure as to where he would place the recent accomplishments of the trio on an all-time Irish boxing greats list, Scully was quick to point out that while heavyweight legend John L. Sullivan was born in Massachusetts, his father hailed from Kerry and his mother from Westmeath.
“I mean, I’ll probably be heading to Limerick anyway with a Tricolour for Andy’s civic reception, you know? We can all be so proud of what he achieved in Vegas on Saturday. At least I think we can, can’t we?
With boxing traditionally seen as the island’s most inclusive area of sporting endeavour, as well as being coincidentally its most successful on the world stage, Scully speculated that his seeming ambivalence towards these recent victories was possibly the result of a subconscious reluctance to move with the times.
“Maybe I’m still just stuck in the ’90s. Collins, say, now there was a fella everybody could get behind regardless of their living arrangements, religion or gender, right? The Celtic Warrior. With the wolfhounds and tweed suits, and shamrocks shaved into the side of his head. He was perfect.”
“Perfect”, said Scully quietly.
“But Carl, Katie and Andy are definitely okay too”, he affirmed.
GO RAIBH MAITH!