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Video: Rinty Monaghan - sculpture honours Belfast's first world boxing champion

A new bronze sculpture of Belfast boxing legend Rinty Monaghan has been unveiled in Belfast.

It took place in Cathedral Gardens in front of family, friends and boxing fans.

World Flyweight Champion Rinty, who famously sang ‘When Irish Eyes are Smiling’ after fights, is captured in a victorious pose in a 10feet high bronze sculpture with taped hand visible on one side and a microphone in the other as he looks out over the area where he was born and grew up.

Family members including daughters, Collette and Rosetta, brother Tommy and nephew, Eamon McAuley, himself a former boxer, attended the event with guests coming from as far away as the United States.

Rinty’s  is one of a series of three sculptures being funded by Belfast City Council as part of its boxing strategy, to highlight the contribution of boxing as a sport and to celebrate its many heroes within and outside the ring.

Belfast Boxing Ring has worked with the council, the Monaghan family and artist, Alan Beattie Herriot, to produce the sculpture. Alan is also working on another sculpture of west Belfast boxer, John Caldwell, which will take pride of place in Dunville Park. Work on a sculpture to honour boxing heroes in the Shankill area, which will be placed in Woodvale Park, is currently being commissioned.

Belfast Lord Mayor, Arder Carson, who unveiled the bronze sculpture with members of Rinty’s family said: “It is the people of Belfast who make the city so special and it is sporting heroes like Rinty that encourage many others to succeed so we are delighted to be honouring him today in the area where he grew up, lived and trained.

“A sport like boxing needs skills that all of us can learn and use in daily life – dedication, discipline, stamina, competitiveness and physical fitness – which is why we are working to promote it, and other sporting activities, across Belfast."

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