New York firefighters to box Irish cops in St. Paddy's Day event

Sun Mar 15, 2015 7:33am EDT
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By Sebastien Malo

NEW YORK (Reuters) - New York firefighters will climb into the ring at Madison Square Garden on Saturday to battle Irish cops in a charity boxing event celebrating the historical ties between Ireland and the city's first responders.

The bouts, scheduled on the weekend before St. Patrick's Day, pit amateur boxers from the New York City Fire Department (FDNY) against Irish national police pugilists from the Garda Soichana Boxing Club.

"If history repeats itself, it will be one hell of a donnybrook," said Bobby McGuire, who heads the New York team known as FDNY Bravest Boxing. "The Irish are lovely lads, but very tough."

The event, billed as "McMayhem in Midtown," comes at a time when interest in the "sweet science" is rekindling after fading in recent years with the rise of mixed martial arts.

Last week, NBC launched an occasional series of Saturday night fights that recalls boxing's heyday in the 1950s and 1960s, when the sport was a staple of network television.

"McMayhem" is now in its third year, with the series tied.

Boxing between New York and Irish first responders is a peculiar expression of a historical bond that goes way back.

The sport, long popular in Ireland, served as a vehicle of upward mobility for generations of Irish immigrants to the United States.   Continued...

Amateur boxer Shepard Davis with the FDNY Bravest Boxing team throws a punch at an opponent at a charity event at Webster Hall in New York, in this handout picture taken March 6, 2014.   REUTERS/JJ Ignotz/Handout via Reuters