Author(s): Paddy Monaghan
True Crime | No Category
At a fighting weight of little more than 11 stone, Paddy Monaghan was not immediately as intimidating as bare-knuckle boxers like Lenny McLean or Roy Shaw. But if anyone dared to underestimate this man - as many foolish opponents did - the full force of the hardest man in Ireland, a fine and ferocious fighting machine, would be unleashed. His unbroken record of 114 bare-knuckle fight wins is not only testimony to his exceptional strategic skill and fearsome punching ability, but also to his sheer determination and passion. Paddy Monaghan simply has something inside him that will not allow defeat. Life has been far from easy - although the Monaghans were originally a wealthy family, by the time Paddy was born it had all been wasted away through fraud and gambling. A wiry youngster, Paddy left school with a reputation for fighting, but with no qualifications. Many years later, Paddy single-handedly taught himself how to read and write, beginning with books designed for children. Paddy, a staunch Muhammad Ali fan, displayed he same tenacity when he launched a one-man campaign to protest the stripping of Ali's boxing licence in 1967.
Paddy' actions came to the attention of the great man himself. and the next time Ali came to the UK, he went to meet Paddy at his council house in Abingdon. Two men who were socially worlds apart came together in a friendship based on mutual respect and admiration.
Paddy Monaghan was born in the village of Ederney, Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. When Paddy was 5 years old, his father, broke and desperately trying to make ends meet, uprooted the family to Abingdon, England. Often bullied and ridiculed as a young lad for his strong Northern Ireland accent, Paddy, determined that no one would push him around, quickly learned to fight with ferocity beyond his years. This was the beginning of a long and renowned career as a bare-knuckle fighter. He retired in 1980 and now, almost 30 years later, his extraordinary 114 bare-knuckle fight win record is still intact. He returned to the small Irish village of Ederney where he lives today. PETER GERRARD is a crime writer and biographer. He lives near Boston in rural Lincolnshire with his wife and son. Amongst others he has worked with Reggie Kray, Ronnie Knight and was the co-author of Lenny McLean's autobiography - The Guv'nor - the surprise bestseller of 1998.