Bernard Dunne, former World Champion talks to Michael Gomez about his wild and turbulent boxing career and one life altering night in the National Stadium.
Michael Armstrong was born on the side of a road in Longford. His father who was blind was driving his mother to the hospital, when he crashed and Michael was delivered there and then.
Years later when he won a boxing title, the Sky Sports TV interviewer asked him; “You were born on the side of the road, brought up in care homes – it’s some story?” “That’s not a story”, Gomez replied, “That was real life.”
After living in Dublin, the family moved to Manchester where Michael lived in a succession of care homes. At the age of seventeen, he became a professional boxer but there was one problem – there already was a boxer with his name so he choose ‘Gomez’ after his hero Wilfredo Gomez, who also threw a powerful uppercut.
At the time, in the Manchester boxing scene, Gomez alongside Ricky Hatton, was seen as future world champions. There was an air of expectation as crowds of supporters, dressed in sombreros and ponchos, turned up at his fights.
Michael Gomez would fight forty eight times in a spectacular and wild career that made him a legendary figure in the Irish boxing world. Over those years he was stabbed, killed a man, was accused of throwing fights, flat lined for forty seconds and struggled with alcohol and drugs problems – all that time boxing professionally at an elite world level.
In this weeks ‘Documentary on One’ The Irish Mexican, former world champion Bernard Dunne travels to Manchester to interview Michael Gomez, where for the first time, he tells his story of how he would heavily binge, drinking a bottle of whiskey a night and taking cocaine and then go into the ring and fight.(
(Apart from the Michael Gomez v Peter McDonough fight, all commentary courtesy of Sky Sports)
Produced by Ciaran Cassidy and Bernard Dunne.
Sound Supervision by Mark Dwyer.
First Broadcast 5th July 2014
An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries