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Justice done as champ Nash handed title belt 36 years on

Here's one for the Memory Man. When was an Irish title belt presented to a boxer 36 years after his winning bout?

The answer is that a little bit of boxing history was celebrated before Pajo Hyland's world title victory at the National Stadium last Saturday.

Mel Christle, President of the Boxing Union, the professional sport's governing body, made a presentation that time had forgotten.

As an amateur, Derry's Charlie Nash (pictured) had won five Irish national titles. He'd represented Ireland in the Munich Olympics in 1972. This was just months after tragedy had struck his family.

In January of that year he was travelling back to Derry from Dublin when his 19-year-old brother Willie was shot and killed when attempting to help another victim on Bloody Sunday. His father was wounded in the incident.

Three years later, while reigning Irish lightweight champion, he turned professional and had his first pro bout in Derry against Ray Ross from Ardglass. At stake was the Irish lightweight title.

Charlie won the 10-round contest on points. Because the Boxing Union of Ireland wasn't in existence, the southpaw didn't receive a belt or trophy to mark his achievement.

That wrong was set right when Charlie was presented with his long overdue belt. Both amateur and professional lightweight champion in the same year (1975), Charlie Nash (25 (KO 9)-5) was a remarkable sportsman who defeated three British champions in his first seven bouts, a feat that seems impossible in an era when novice professionals are given easy fights to help them ease into the discipline. He also defeated Ken Buchanan to claim the EBU lightweight title in 1979.

"I was so proud to win the Irish title on my first fight," says a delighted Charlie. "And I'm thrilled to receive the belt after all those years."