Thursday 23 January 2020

Fighting spirit: Taylor helps honour former slave turned boxer 200 years after his death

Champion move: Katie Taylor spars with Meabh O’Halloran, from Ballybane, at the event in Mervue cemetery, Galway city. Photo: Aengus McMahon
Champion move: Katie Taylor spars with Meabh O’Halloran, from Ballybane, at the event in Mervue cemetery, Galway city. Photo: Aengus McMahon
Breda Heffernan

Breda Heffernan

World champion boxer Katie Taylor has unveiled a headstone to honour an African-American bare-knuckle fighter who was buried in an unmarked grave in Galway more than 200 years ago.

In the summer of 1818, Tom Molineaux, a former slave turned boxing champion, was discovered sick and destitute on the city's streets.

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Aged just 34, the washed-up fighter was given shelter in the band room of the Shambles Barracks - where St Patrick's National School now stands - by three drummers from the 77th Regiment.

Tragically, Molineaux died on August 4 and he was buried in an unmarked grave in St James's Cemetery in Mervue.

Yesterday, Taylor unveiled a headstone in his honour and sparred with local children.

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