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It is entirely human to thrill to the doomsday clang of the opening bell, even if boxing is a thoroughly inhumane affair

 

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Support act: Hughie Russell is embraced by mother Eileen

Support act: Hughie Russell is embraced by mother Eileen

Hughie Russell with old foe Davy Larmour

Hughie Russell with old foe Davy Larmour

Tom Jenkins

Paul McCloskey

Paul McCloskey

�Russell Pritchard / Presseye

Support act: Hughie Russell is embraced by mother Eileen

Watching old fights during the lockdown brings me back to the fascination I once had with what George Plimpton called "the doomsday clang of the ring bell".

As a boy, I was a keen amateur fighter with the St Canice's, Dungiven, boxing club. Unfortunately, I suffered from the twin problems of an inability to punch and a terrible temper, which I probably inherited from my mother.

One of my literary heroes, Lord Byron, who was a ferocious pugilist and regularly settled feuds with his fists, was also said to have inherited his temper from his mother. Her anger must have been considerable since she is reputed to have died of a fit of rage brought on by reading an upholsterer's bill.