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Last Updated: Monday, 10 January 2005, 12:05 GMT
McGuigan joins list of legends
Barry McGuigan
McGuigan's finest hour came against Pedroza
Former boxing world champion Barry McGuigan has spoken of his delight at landing the sport's premier accolade in America.

The Irishman has topped this year's inductees to the International Boxing Hall of Fame, which chronicles the achievements of leading sportsmen.

Once dubbed the Clones Cyclone, because he hailed from the village of Clones in County Monaghan, McGuigan joins a host of boxing legends in the Hall of Fame, including Muhammad Ali.

McGuigan told BBC Radio Ulster: "When I think of the people who have been there, and the people I grew up admiring - the likes of Muhammad Ali, Rocky Marciano, Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard... it's just incredible that I'm in the same sort of club.

"I'll never be as good a fighter as them, but nevertheless, to be inducted into the Boxing Hall of Fame is pretty special."

The Irishman sprang to world fame in 1985 when he beat Panama's Eusebio Pedroza.

He defended his featherweight title twice before losing to Steve Cruz in a savage Las Vegas bout that saw him hospitalised.

This year's Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held during four days of celebrations from 9-12 June at Canastota, New York.

More than 20 events are planned, including a golf tournament, banquet, professional boxing show, parade and autograph card show.

Ali in his hey-day taking on Joe Frazier in the "Thrilla in Manila"
Ali in his hey-day taking on Joe Frazier in the 1975 "Thrilla in Manila"
A celebrity line-up of more than 50 boxing greats will be at the event.

"It's become a huge occasion," said McGuigan. "Fighters from all around the world, some of the greatest fighters of all time arrive there, former inductees turn out.

"It's something I'm really looking foward to...more than anything else to rub shoulders with all the great fighters and to get to meet them.

"I'm really proud. It's very special to me and my family and all the people who helped me get there. It's a proud occasion for them too."

McGuigan, whose boxing career ended in 1989 after his fight was stopped in the third round, said it was wonderful to have recognition on the other side of the world.

"It's great, for all the fans during those troubled times in the eighties that came along to see me and gave me incredible support.

"For them it's very special, it's for them too. It's for them more than for me, it's recognition across the pond.

"Getting the recognition on the other side of the ocean, in America, that's the epicentre of professional boxing, is quite incredible. There are other Irishmen that have been inducted but that's posthumous.

"I'm the first home grown Irishman that's ever been inducted."

Executive director of the Hall of Fame Edward Brophy said: "We're extremely excited about the Class of 2005.

Accomplished author

"The new inductees highlight the international aspect of the sport of boxing and of the Hall of Fame."

Featherweight Bobby Chacon, welterweight Duilio Loi and light middleweight Terry Norris, as well as writer Burt Sugar are also being included on the illustrious list.

The well known sports journalist, Harry Mullan, from Londonderry who died of cancer six years ago, is also being inducted.

An accomplished author, Mullan penned many books including The Illustrated History of Boxing, Heroes and Hard Men, 25 Years of Boxing, Fighting Words, and Barry McGuigan: The Untold Story.

He also wrote articles for such newspapers as The Sunday Times, The Independent on Sunday and Sport First.

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