Remembering The Bernard Dunne Boxing Career
Bernard Dunne was a true warrior, a man who gave his all in every single fight.
This was never more evident than the night he fought Ricardo Cordoba in Dublin for the WBA Super Bantamweight Title in 2009. Dunne’s fight with Cordoba was the most enthralling fight I’ve seen, it was edge of your seat stuff from round 1 to round 11.
Dunne began his professional career in California and worked under the legendary Freddie Roach. Over in the States Dunne trained with the best in the Wild Card Gym including Manny Pacquiao.
On his debut Dunne defeated Rodrigo Ortiz by TKO in round 2. Dunne won 9 0f his first 10 pro bouts by stoppage. Bernard fought 14 times in America winning them all. He then returned to Dublin and linked up with Brian Peters.
Peters negotiated a deal with RTE that all of Bernard’s fights would be broadcast live. This was a deal the first of it’s kind for RTE, thus showing the popularity of Bernard Dunne.
Moving Through The Ranks
Dunne’s first fight back on home soil was against Jim Betts at the National Stadium, a fight he would win by TKO. Dunne packed out the National Stadium on numerous occasions, in his prime Bernard Dunne was Ireland’s most famous sport’s personality, a bit like Conor McGregor is today.
Next up for Dunne was Yuriy Voronin, this proved to be a tough fight for Dunne but he got the victory on points. Bernard was top of the bill when he faced Sean Hughes for the vacant IBC Super Bantamweight title. Dunne made light work of Hughes and knocked him out in the second round.
After fights in Germany and Italy, Dunne returned home and faced his toughest fight yet. Dunne faced Esham Pickering for the vacant European Super Bantamweight title at the Point Depot in Dublin.
The fight went the distance with Dunne winning by UD and taking home the European title. This fight propelled Dunne to a new level, casual fans of boxing started to follow his rise and the whole country really got behind him.
Dunne defended his European title twice, defeating Yersin Zhailauov by TKO and Reidar Walstad on points. Dunne would then defend his title against Kiko Martinez of Spain.
Dunne was now selling out shows with ease, his fight with Martinez filled the Point in Dublin but the fans couldn’t have expected what followed on the night. Martinez destroyed Dunne with only a minute and a half gone in the first round. The Point was left shocked, Ireland was left shocked.
We all know what Martinez has gone on to do (winning a World Title, fighting Carl Frampton twice) but when he fought Dunne he was a virtual unknown who had never fought outside of Spain. As you could have expected this defeat, (his first as a pro) was a big set back for Dunne.
The fighter that Dunne was though, didn’t let the Martinez defeat hold him back.
He went onto come back with a number of fine performances against Felix Machado, Damian David Marchiano and Cristian Faccio. He defeated Machado and Marchiano on points and Faccio by TD.
That Famous Night
Next was the fight that Bernard Dunne will be remembered for, he took on Ricardo Cordoba in front of a sell out crowd in the O2 arena, Dublin.
This was the first World title fight in Dublin in over 10 years. This fight had it all, Dunne had Cordoba on the canvas in the 3rd but Cordoba came back strong and put down Dunne twice in the 5th.
Both fighters showed great heart and desire but the going was getting tough in the later rounds, the heat had affect on both and towards the end both guys were running on empty.
Then finally in the 11th, Dunne finished off the man from Panama and won the WBA Super Bantamweight title. Cordoba was treated by doctors for exhaustion in the ring. This shows what both guys put into the fight.
The 21st of March was a huge day for Irish sport, Ireland won the 6 Nations in Wales and Bernard Dunne became World Champion.
Towards The End
Unfortunately Dunne only defended his title once as he was beaten by Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym in Dublin.
Dunne was completely out classed by the Thai fighter and lost the fight due to the 3 knockdown rule in the 3rd round.
An Irish Boxing Legend
Bernard Dunne was a true fighter, who gave it his all and reached the very top. He finished with a record of 30 fights 28 wins (15 by KO) and 2 defeats.
Dunne brought top level boxing back to Ireland, something the country hadn’t had since the days of Steve Collins. His fight with Cordoba is personally my favourite fight of all time and was voted Fight Of The Year by ESPN in 2009.
Dunne will go down as a true great of Irish boxing and deservedly so, he thrilled the fans every time he stepped in the ring.
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