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'There’s no way he's going to beat me. He’ll have to kill me' - the night an Irish Olympic hero had a duel with death

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Wayne McCullough celebrates after beating Jose Luis Bueno in Dublin. Picture Credit: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

Wayne McCullough celebrates after beating Jose Luis Bueno in Dublin. Picture Credit: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

Wayne McCullough celebrates after beating Jose Luis Bueno in Dublin. Picture Credit: David Maher/SPORTSFILE

On a mild Wednesday afternoon in March 1996, I sat in front a roaring log fire in an elegant drawing room of Luttrelstown Castle.

Opposite me sat Wayne McCullough wearing a tracksuit over a sweat-suit. Towels were wrapped around his neck like warm winter scarves. The central heating was also pumping full blast.

While I was perspiring, the WBC bantamweight world champion appeared calm and unruffled.