Michael Conlan promoter: ‘The Troubles are over...get over it’

The promoter of the Belfast boxer who used a ‘pro-IRA song’ as he entered the ring in New York last weekend has said people “need to move on”.

Friday, 22nd March 2019, 11:53 am
Updated Friday, 22nd March 2019, 11:56 am
Michael Conlan at Madison Square Garden. Credit ©INPHO/Emily Harney
Featherweight Michael Conlan at Madison Square Garden. Credit ©INPHO/Emily Harney

Michael Conlan was widely criticised after television coverage of his St Patrick’s Day bout showed large sections of the crowd singing the ‘Ooh ah, up the Ra’ chorus of Celtic Symphony.

Former world champion Wayne McCullough, responding on Twitter to one boxing fan who branded the scenes “absolutely disgusting,” said: “It’s unfortunate that he has to bring politics into it.”

Belfast city councillor Guy Spence was one of those expressing disbelief at the television coverage.

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“For the first time in my life I turned the boxing off before it began,” he tweeted.

DUP leader Arlene Foster also used Twitter to remind people of the IRA’s track record, and added: “All terrorism was wrong and should be condemned – not glorified.”

However, Conlan’s promoter Bob Arum has defended the song choice at the Madison Square Garden venue, and said no offence was intended.

“I know he has received criticism for what he came out to but I think people need to get over it because the Troubles are over,” he told the Belfast Telegraph.

“People need to move on but the songs and chants on both sides still stir the blood and the people in the arena went nuts when they heard it and I haven’t seen enthusiasm like that for a long time. But I’m an American, so maybe my view doesn’t count.”

Mr Arum said there was no backlash against the song choice in the US.

“I understand it can be a sensitive issue but it was not done to cause offence and here in the States everyone is just commenting on what a great atmosphere it was and what a great production,” he said.

“Mick certainly didn’t want to offend anybody with the tune he used for his ringwalk in the Garden.”

Conlan would go on to defeat Ruben Garcia Hernandez on points.