Belfast Telegraph

Friday 27 May 2016

New book charts rise of boxing’s Magill brothers

Published 06/12/2010

Jimmy Magill, arguably one of Ireland's greatest amateur boxers, and his older brother Davy, a former Irish Light-heavyweight and Heavyweight professional champion of the 1920s, have been given long-overdue recognition in an absorbing book on the Magill family history.

Providing detailed insight to the ring careers of three-time ABA champion Jimmy and Davy, once in the frame to fight legendary Irish-American Gene Tunney, is their nephew Paul Magill, a retired history teacher and a son of one the 12 children from the homeland of Cairncastle, Larne. There is the obvious strong sporting theme, backed by a fine montage of fascinating photographs, in the 190-page 'The Magills of The Meetinghouse' Cairncastle.

After winning the Heavyweight championship of the RIC in 1921, Davy was the Irish professional double (Heavyweight and Light-Heavyweight) champion of the 1920s.

He became the idol of Belfast fight fans, and was such a star attraction he secured three contests in the fabled Madison Square Garden, New York. The seventh son, Jim was the outstanding amateur boxer of his generation. From 1931 he bagged six successive European Police titles, representing the R.U.C club.

He was the lone Irish fighter to win three ABA Championships, two at middleweight and one in the light-heavyweight division, yet twice denied the chance to compete in the Olympic Games, at Los Angeles and Berlin, because of politics.

In 1935, the youngest male of the 'fighting' Magill's won a Golden Gloves Middleweight title in Boston.

‘The Magills of The Meetinghouse’ is published by Shanway Press, priced £9.95, and is available at Eason's of Donegall Place, Belfast, and also from the author (plus p&p) at

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