Peter McDonagh is one of the most underappreciated talents of the last decade in professional boxing. Over the course of 55 bouts; 14 years & some 369 rounds the ‘Connemara Kid’ has only ever been stopped twice – the remainder of his record – against frankly an unusually high concentration of high quality opposition.
McDonagh made his professional debut on Sunday 28 April 2002 – just 7 months after the September 11th, 2001 terrorist attacks in New York & Washington; Anthony Joshua was just 12 years old & the Sugababes were #1 in the charts with the infinitely forgettable Freak Like Me. His career has taken him to the United Kingdom; back to his native Ireland; to Italy; Canada & France. That debut came on a Eugene Maloney card at the Elephant & Castle Centre & the likeable Irishman would; incredibly; go on to fight on Frank Warren; Barry Hearn; Joey Pyle; Bruce Baker; Dennis Hobson; Mark Roe; Brian Peters; Mario Loreni; Jonathan Feld; John Merton; Mick Hennessy; Salvatore Cherchi; Jim Gentle; Gary Freedman; Tyler Buxton; Don MacDonald; Adam Booth; David Coldwell; Giovanni Boggia; Christian Cherchi; Spencer Fearon; Andy Ayling; Frank Maloney; Steve Wood; Micky Hughes; Mark Burford; Tommy Owens & Matthew Macklin promoted cards. That’s a grand total of 29 promoters over the course of his 55 fight career to date.
What marks Peter’s career out is the huge proportion of notable talents he has faced & competed with – World champions Alex Arthur & (WBU) Michael Gomez; World title challengers in Frankie Gavin & Michele Di Rocco; Commonwealth champion Bradley Skeete (twice); British champions Darren Hamilton; Curtis Woodhouse & Lee Purdy (twice); English champion Ryan Barrett; the highly respected talent of Yassine El Maachi; 2008 Olympian & Amateur World Bronze medallist Bradley Saunders; Manny Pacquiao’s primary sparring partner for his first three Marquez bouts Dean Byrne & 2009 ABA Champion Ronnie Heffron… by any measure that’s a remarkable range & volume of high quality operators.
The Irishman’s record will never do him justice – certainly not in the era of hyper-inflated, untested prospects – but boxing was built on such honest craftsmen in the true Golden era of the sport – the decade or so that followed the end of the Second World War & predated the television stimulated deflation & devaluation of boxing as sport in favour of boxing as a carefully scripted pseudo-product. Peter McDonagh is the embodiment of what boxing should be about – honest toil – the pursuit of achievement & not the fear of failure.