My Favourite Fighter: Bernard Dunne
By Dan McConnell
Being a die-hard mixed martial arts fan and a casual boxing fan, there have been many great sporting moments and fighters who I have either admired or loved over the years.
I really could choose anyone from TJ Dillashaw, Rory MacDonald, Katie Taylor or Ryan Burnett. However, for my favourite fighter it is one who got me into the sport of boxing from an early age.
In 2007 when I was only 13 years-old, I remember my Dad always sticking on the boxing at the weekend. There always seemed to be this one fighter that he liked watching, and I soon realised there was something special about this Dublin boxer.
Bernard Dunne (28-2) was a former Irish WBA and European super-bantamweight champion, and had a very experienced amateur boxer with a record of 119-11 following the traditional and accomplished Irish boxing route that many have went down and put Ireland on the map.
In 2007 I remember Dunne taking on European super-bantamweight Kiko Martinez at The Point Arena in Dublin which is now the 3 Arena. Dunne lost this bout and was quickly put on the canvas with an overhand right. Dunne looked stunned of what just happened, and was floored again. He beat the count twice like the warrior ‘The Dublin Dynamo’ was, but the referee stopped the fight just 90 seconds into the first round.
This was the first defeat of Dunne’s professional career, and one that stunned the whole Irish nation. Dunne bounced back and went on a four-fight win streak, with victories over Felix Machado, Damian Marchino, Cristian Faccio and the infamous victory over Ricardo Cordoba.
It was the Cordoba fight that cemented the Dubliners legacy in Irish boxing. In March 2009 Dunne faced off against Panamanian WBA super-bantamweight champion Ricardo Cordoba, this was the first world boxing championship fight in Dublin for 13 years.
Dunne went on to win in a thrilling fashion, although it wasn’t all that easy. Dunne knocked his opponent to the canvas in the third with a hard left-hook, but the champion regained his composure. In the fifth Cordoba knocked Dunne down twice. Both men somehow traded blows back and forward, until Cordoba increased his output in the tenth, but a tough gritty Irishman hung in there and wouldn’t go away!
In the 11th round Dunne landed the killer blow, knocking down the champion three times who was unable to recover and the contest was over! Dunne left the 3 Arena a world champion with the Irish fans in attendance unable to put into words what just happened. This was a moment that was written into the Irish sport history books for sure.
This marked the end to a historic day for Irish sports with the Ireland rugby team winning the Six Nations Grand Slam earlier on that day.
Dunne fought just one more time at the end of 2009 against Prakorb Udomna, unfortunately losing the contest. On 10th April 2009 Dunne was crowned boxer of the month by the WBA and in January 2010 named Boxer of the Year at the Irish National Boxing Awards.
Three weeks later on 19th of February he announced his retirement from the sport, closing the chapter on an excellent career. Bernard Dunne is a fighter I have always admired, and one that made me appreciate the fight and determination Irish boxers have inside themselves. And this is why ‘The Dublin Dynamo is my favourite fighter.