The Latest from Barry

I’ve been busy over the last few months.

On February 23rd, I headed up a new plan for Cooperation Ireland, a cross-border charity that is helping to build a lasting peace in Northern Ireland. I was in Dublin at the magnificent L’Ecrivain Restaurant to launch a new program called, The Youth Leadership Program; at risk teenagers are taught how to use cameras and encouraged to make their own documentary about their lives. These young people are being actively recruited by paramilitary organizations in their area and the police are genuinely concerned for their future. But Cooperation Ireland has set up this scheme, kids at risk got involved and had a great time making the film of their lives which was premiered that night.
All of the teenagers who were at risk are now no longer involved with the paramilitaries and are actively involved in The Youth Leadership Program, which is great news.

I was asked to be their first ambassador and to address 150 businessmen who are interested in getting involved in the project over the coming months and there will be several similar initiatives started in a number of Cities all over Ireland over the next 12 months.
We then went across town to watch a concert in honour of Cooperation Ireland with the President of Ireland Mary McIlees at Dublin’s new concert hall. Column Wilkinson was performing some of his classic West End songs and some of his personal pop favourite’s over the years, he was fabulous. It was a great night all round and we have high hopes for the program in the future.

As you’ll see from the website, the Barry McGuigan Boxing Academies are in four different colleges across the country and continue to grow. We were delighted when HRH Prince Edward came to officially open the impressive new Wiggmore Campus in South Leicestershire on March 29th. Prince Edward was very impressed with the superb facilities that the new campus provides and he stayed and watched some of the students from the BMBA academy workout on the focus pads. It was a proud day for everyone at SLC.

April 4th, another great night for the Integrated Education Fund, at O’Neill’s Pub in Wardour Street. It was to help raise awareness and money for a great cause with a night of comedy and music with Frank Carson performing a stint and getting involved in the music. Integrated Education has been going since the early 1980’s educating young children together during a very difficult period in Northern Ireland’s history. From humble beginnings without any financial support they have grown exponentially and now have over 60 schools educating 6% of the schooling population!!

I want to comment on a few sporting stories over the last few days, which have been grabbing the headlines.

Firstly my fellow country man, Rory McIlroy; he was unable to keep his blistering form at the US Masters on the final day. All you haters and Naysayers out there – get off this young man’s back, he led the tournament up to the last 9 holes of the competition, he is only 21 years old for goodness sake, he is a phenomenal talent and he is going to make you all eat your words over the coming years – onwards and upwards Rory!

The Amir Khan saga; just what is going on with the management of this prize young fighter? Sky Sports took the Khan/McCloskey fight from Sky Box Office to regular Sky Sports because there was a poor supporting undercard. This means a greater number of fans were going to see the contest and therefore you’d think strengthening both boxers fan base. But Khan’s management feel that Amir has been slighted and said that while they reluctantly accept being moved from Box Office to Sky Sports, they want to ensure they are on Sky Sports 1 and not Sky Sports 2 or Sky Sports 3. Herein lies the confusion – accepting that the show is now not going to be on Box Office, you would think that the next objective for Team Khan would be to maximize the TV audience watching the show right? The Khan’s however insist that Sky were trying to denigrate Amir by relegating him to SS2 or SS3.

The Khan’s took the fight to a much smaller PPV operator called Primetime who have done less than a half dozen big fights and reportedly got significantly less than 10,000 people watching Carl Froch’s last fight against Arthur Abrahams at the end of last year. At £15 pounds per person and presumably the production costs also coming out of the pot as well, how do they possibly make money out of that? Management or mis-management let me know your thoughts?

And finally, my book “Cyclone – My Story” comes out at the end of May and I plan to do a media campaign some signing sessions (details to follow) so keep your ear to the ground.

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