Belfast featherweight Michael Conlan has been criticised for his ringwalk song prior to his bout on St Patrick’s Day in New York as it contained a pro-IRA lyric.
Conlan, a London 2012 bronze medallist, extended his unbeaten professional record to 11-0 with a routine points win over Ruben Garcia Hernandez at the Madison Square Garden Theater.
Beforehand, though, the Wolfe Tones’ Celtic Symphony – which contains the lyric ‘Ooh Ahh Up The Ra’ – was blared around the venue, prompting a backlash from unionist politicians.
DUP Belfast councillor Brian Kingston wrote on his Twitter account: “Very disappointing that Michael Conlon does not follow the lead of many previous boxing and sporting heroes so that people can support him across the divide.
Very disappointing that Michael Conlon does not follow the lead of many previous boxing and sporting heroes so that people can support him across the divide. Disgraceful that he has no regard for the victims of IRA terrorism. https://t.co/Conh3GBvLY— Brian Kingston (@BrianKingston) March 18, 2019
“Disgraceful that he has no regard for the victims of IRA terrorism.”
Ulster Unionist Party MLA John Stewart posted a video of the ringwalk on his Facebook alongside the caption: “The sport of boxing has done so much to break down barriers, cross the divide and unite people from all backgrounds in Northern Ireland.
“It’s deeply regrettable that Michael Conlon doesn’t respect or understand this. It’s time someone told him that walking out to ‘Oh Ahh Up the RA’ is dragging him and the sport into the gutter.”
Conlan has fought on St Patrick’s Day in each of the last three years at the same venue.