WriteSide with Bernard Dunne
Why have you written a book for children about your life as a champion boxer?
I wanted to encourage boys to get into reading and sport, because of all the benefits they bring. Part of it is about the challenges when you grow you up in a neighbourhood like Neilstown [in west Dublin], and how you can be labelled for being from a certain background. I want to show children that they should never be afraid to want to be something.
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Did you love reading when you were growing up?
I was always into books and reading. It it comes from my dad, who loved to tell us stories. Often they were funny stories about characters like Bottler or Snodzer. That's where my grá comes from.
What kind of stories do you like?
I love Irish myths and legends. I presented the TV show Bernard Dunne's Mythical Heroes. I like characters like Setanta, the Children of Lir and Fionn MacCumhaill. My next book will be about Irish myths. I also love reading books about sport. I am working as the High Performance Director of the Irish boxing programme, so I read a lot about team management.
You give a compelling account of some of your fights in the book. How do you recall them?
I am not like those boxers who have no recollection of their fights. I can remember punches going by me in slow motion.
Is it true you had an out-of-body experience during the fight when you became World Champion against Ricardo Cordoba?
There were six knockdowns in the whole fight. I knocked him down four times and he knocked me down twice. The second time he knocked me down, I didn't even realise I was in a boxing ring. I came out of my body and started having a conversation with myself. Then I came back to the present moment with my coach Harry shouting 'Get up! Get on your feet!' at me.
'Champion of the World' by Bernard Dunne is published by O'Brien Press