Sunday 25 March 2018

Fagan hangs up his gloves

Oisin Fagan will take up a coaching job as boxing development officer with Dublin City Council
Oisin Fagan will take up a coaching job as boxing development officer with Dublin City Council

Thomas Myler

IT’S all over for Oisin Fagan, who has decided to hang up his gloves after a seven-year career in the paid ranks.

But the popular 36-year-old Dubliner and former Irish lightwelterweight champion, with only eight losses in 33 fights, will not be lost to the sport.

The Portmarnock resident, originally from Tallaght and described by George Foreman as “one tough cookie”, has taken up a coaching job as boxing development officer with Dublin City Council in collaboration with the Irish Amateur Boxing Association.

He will go around schools, clubs, colleges and community centres, imparting his pugilistic knowledge. “I feel it’s something I’m giving back to the community, and it’s a whole new challenge for me,” said Fagan, who lived up to his nickname ‘Gael Force’ when the first bell rang with an all-action aggressive style, continually firing jabs, hooks and uppercuts from beginning to end – win or lose.


“I believed in giving the fans good value for their hard-earned money and I always felt that was important.

As the fans know, I never ducked a challenge, even against the big guns like Amir Khan, Julio Cesar Chavez Junior or Paul Spadafora.

“These guys were class acts and while I was often unlucky, I gave them as good a challenge as anyone. Their reputations didn’t bother me whatsoever and my attitude was that I would walk through walls to get at them. So nobody could ever say I ducked anybody.”

Fagan’s last fight was against undefeated Andy Murray for the Cavan stylist’s Irish lightweight title at the National Stadium in Dublin seven weeks ago. However, the younger Murray proved too good for him and the fight was stopped in the fifth, with Fagan trailing on points.

“I know I didn’t show for the postfight conference. I know too that I said I was disgusted at the fight being stopped as I was continually going forward. I still feel the same way about it. I should have been allowed to carry on.

“I knew he was getting the upper hand but he wasn’t hurting me whatsoever. Everybody knows my aggressive, tough style. My game plan was to always come forward, and in particular to come on strong near the finish and wear my opponent down.

The next thing I know the fight is stopped.

“Boxing is a tough sport and you have to expect to get hit, but for the fight to be stopped, prematurely in my view, is something that will stay with me until the day I die. However, I wish Andy the best of luck in his career. We are good pals.”

Fagan originally played Leinster junior league soccer and after being spotted by a talent scout he went to Oklahoma on a soccer scholarship and earned degrees in both Physical Education and Political Journalism until a serious knee injury ended his promising career.

“I was planning to come home but I didn’t have the air fare,” he said. “I was then advised by a local boxing promoter to stay on and become a pro boxer as I had done a little boxing back home.

“I planned to save up enough money to buy the air ticket and return to Dublin. As it happened, I won my first three fights, lost my fourth, but went on to become the Oklahoma lightweight champion.

“By then, while I had enough money to fly home, I liked it so much in Oklahoma that I decided to stay there.

It was a decision I’ve never regretted.” Fagan did eventually return to his native city in 2006 and won the vacant Irish lightwelterweight championship by stopping Jeff Thomas, a Dutchman with Irish connections, in seven rounds on a Brian Peters promotion. “That would be a career highlight,” he said.

Elsewhere, Dubliner Thomas Hardwick (25) won the New York Golden Gloves novice heavyweight title at Madison Square Garden in New York last weekend.

He outpointed Earl Newman Junior, trained by John Duddy’s coach Harry Keitt, by setting a fast pace from the start, coming forward and snapping his taller opponent’s head back with hard left and right hooks.

“It was a dream come true to win at MSG, something I will always treasure,” said Hardwick, who dedicated the victory to his friend Warren O’Connor, who died in January after a stabbing incident in Dublin.

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