Sunday 19th October 2008
Based in the heart of inner city Dublin, this documentary gives a unique insight into the life of St. Saviours Olympic Boxing Academy, one of Ireland's most famous amateur boxing clubs.
One of the most successful boxers to recently emerge from the academy, and whom features in this documentary, is Darren Sutherland.
Now in its forty fourth year, its coaches and young boxers speak candidly about this club's warm atmosphere of camaraderie and friendship over the rich background sounds of punch bags, skipping ropes, ringside bells and the heavy breathing of athletes in their prime. It is a tale told centrally by the club's two head coaches, John and Pat McCormack, sons of the famous Irish champion boxer Spike McCormack.
Both champions in their own right, winning British professional titles in the 1960s and 1970s, John and Pat along with the club's other coaches have dedicated their lives to the sport they love and the youngsters they train. To them, it's more than just boxing. Their main aim is, as Pat puts it, "to make decent people". It is an ethos, which was first instilled by the club's founding members over four decades ago.
Today, the club reflects Dublin City's own transformation with its young boxers coming from very different backgrounds to train alongside each other. Cultural barriers are broken down within the ring and we hear young Dubs along with a Ghanaian, a Romanian and even a Galweigan express their determination to succeed in this the toughest of all sports. It is a toughness that the two McCormacks know only too well.
The documentary hears them recount their own colourful careers as professionals with brutal honesty as well as comical recollections of fights ranging from the Albert Hall in London to Albuquerque, New Mexico. This ambition for victory rolls on within the minds of a new generation of fighters and the documentary culminates with one of its young boxers going into the ring in the packed atmosphere of the National Stadium. Tension, hope and nerves abound aplenty.
Compiled by Liam Nolan
Producer: Peter Woods
An Irish radio documentary from RTÉ Radio 1, Ireland - Documentary on One - the home of Irish radio documentaries