Belfast Telegraph

Billy on the Box: A titanic struggle not to mention the Titanic

Fans of Nineties supergroup Five (I may be stretching that a bit) will be well aware of the concept of one massive hit and disappearing without trace, so it was fitting in so many ways that Martin Rogan’s fight with Tyson Fury turned up on the channel of the same name.

If only Rogie could just Keep on Movin’ there would have been no need to mention When the Lights Go Out or Everybody Get Up, but it was a night for tenuous links.

“Welcome to Belfast, where it’s Titanic weekend. This is the city where the great liner was built before sinking on its maiden voyage 100 years ago,” said presenter Mark Pougatch.

“At the Odyssey Arena we’re going to avoid all historical references (are you sure?) or possible puns, we’re here for a right Irish punch-up.”

There were very little signs of a quiet man anywhere, we had the usual days of threats and how they were going to eat each other’s spleens and as always at the end of it they were the bestest of pals.

Someone had clearly forgotten to tell Adam Darke as the first pre-bout video was chucked in the machine and we were suddenly in the Titanic drawing room and the haunting Irish music kicked in.

The biggest row seemed to be who was the most Irish. Rogie was less than chuffed that Tyson Fury had tried to jump on the bandwagon.

Little does he know that the Manchester pugilist comes from a long line of competitors who have adopted a boxer/Irish music act combination to try and fool us.

He had toyed with Bruno Bono and Ali Dana but they were just too silly.

“People say the stupid Irish? We’re not stupid, let’s be realistic about it. If I’m born in Switzerland, I can’t say I’m Scottish, can I? Is that how stupid he really is?,” asked Rogie, whose next opponent is little-known Zurich-based fighter Heidi ‘The Tobermory Toblerone’ McTavish.

For his part Tyson defended his Irishness by producing several Daniel O’Donnell albums, wearing a green jumper and recalling how he had once petted an Irish setter but his real reason for his trip home was revealed as ‘coming over here to beat up an old guy, make some new friends and get paid.’ The English never get it quite right in this neck of the woods, do they?

Once the talking — and there was a lot of it — with Al ‘The Voice of US Boxing’ Bernstein was over, on came Rogie.

“He’s been likened to Rocky Marciano but he comes out to the theme tune of a different Rocky,” said commentator Dave ‘Not a pair of slacks’ Farrar. There was no sign of Bullwinkle anywhere.

“If they can take Rogan into deep water, the 40-year-old will drown,” Al tactfully pointed out, but before he could chuck in any wacky famine references, one savage unexpected blow to the side and the big Belfast thing was down never to be seen again. Who says history doesn’t repeat itself?

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