The story of this celebrated sportsman shows just how much of a fighter he really is, and how he will always be a champion in the eyes of his Irish fans. In 2009 Bernard Dunne reached the pinnacle of his sporting career by becoming the WBA Super Bantamweight World Champion. This victory was all the more sweet considering he had been written off by many following a shock defeat in 2007.
Dunne began his professional boxing career in 2001 in the United States, leaving Ireland with 13 Irish amateur titles under his belt. In the US, and under the renowned, international boxing coach Freddie Roach, he won his first 14 fights.
Working with manager Brian Peters, Peters successfully secured a deal for Dunne’s fights to be broadcast live on national television — the first deal of its kind for an Irish boxer. In 2006 Dunne won the Super Bantamweight European and defended it several times until he suffered a crushing first-round defeat by Kiko Martinez in front of a packed Point Depot crowd. Many believed he would never recover from such a catastrophic blow but, true to his word, Dunne came back.
After working hard, he eventually took on WBA Super Bantamweight World Champion Ricardo Cordoba and won a thrilling fight in the eleventh round — the same day as the Irish Rugby team won the Grand Slam. His reign lasted six months before he lost his belt to Thai boxer Poonsawat Kratingdaenggym. Is this the end of the road for Ireland’s champ? Hardly. Dunne has already proved his ability to come back bigger and better than before. He is, after all, a legend in the making.