Belfast Telegraph

Derry Destroyer John Duddy lands role in Robert de Niro boxing movie

By Amanda Ferguson

The retired boxer known as the Derry Destroyer has landed a Hollywood film role after impressing Robert de Niro.

John Duddy will be on cinema screens with the legendary US actor next year in boxing movie Hands Of Stone.

In the meantime, the 35-year-old, who retired from boxing in 2011, is doing "honest work" as a removal man for a company based in the Bronx area of New York "until the next best thing comes along".

The middleweight fighter from Londonderry told the New York Times his latest role came about when he formed "a bit of a friendship and a great rapport" with De Niro after working on the set of his 2013 movie Grudge Match, helping with boxing sequences.

The actor behind a range of hit movies such as Taxi Driver, Casino and The Godfather II then made a call on Duddy's behalf to cast him in Hands Of Stone, about the fighter Roberto Duran, which stars the Oscar winner as Ray Arcel, Duran's former trainer.

The movie is due for release in 2015.

Duddy, who lives in Queens with his wife Grainne, a bar hostess, filmed scenes in Los Angeles and Duran's native Panama for his role as Scottish fighter Ken Buchanan.

"Being involved in a project like that was one of the greatest experiences of my life," he said.

"In one scene we were filming a news conference when it finally hit me. I'm standing there thinking: 'Oh my God, I'm shooting a scene with Robert De Niro'."

The knockout specialist said he felt he did not get the monetary reward he was entitled to for his career. "I never knew how much money my fights generated, or how much money was coming in or going out," he said.

Duddy still gets approached by boxing fans on the streets of New York. "I was very fortunate that New Yorkers took me under their wing. There are so many working-class people in this city, and I was a working-class fighter. That's why we connected. It's wonderful to know that some people haven't forgotten what I did in the ring.

"And hopefully, one day, they'll also remember me for what I accomplished on the stage and on screen," he said.

Profile

Known as the Derry Destroyer and Ireland's John Duddy, a career highlight came at Madison Square Garden in 2006 when he defeated Luis Campas.

The 35-year-old retired from boxing in 2011 with a record of 29 victories (18 KOs) and two losses.

Since then he has played the title role in Kid Shamrock, a 2011 Off-Broadway production based on the life of former boxer Bobby Cassidy.

In 2013 he thrilled theatre audiences in romantic comedy For Love, and also played a boxer in the Bon Jovi video for Because We Can.

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