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Council’s green light for tribute to fighter

Park statue for boxing hero John

By Francesca Ryan

A statue dedicated to West Belfast boxing hero John Caldwell is to be erected in the newly refurbished Dunville Park.

Belfast City Council has given the green light for the Belfast Boxing Ring group to erect three statues across the city: John Caldwell in Dunville Park, Rinty Monaghan in Cathedral Gardens and a statue to the boxing greats of the Shankill in Woodvale Park.

Belfast has a long and proud association with the sport of boxing and the city can boast a long line of amateur and professional champions who have placed the name of Belfast on the international map and represented their city with skill and pride. Now their achievements will be acknowledged with the three  statues which will instill a great sense of pride in each community.

John was born in May 1938 and lived at Cyprus Street, off the Falls Road.  He attended St Comgall’s, not far from his home, and later joined the famous Immaculata Boxing Club. He went on to win amateur titles at every level but the undoubted highlight of his career was the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne, where he won a bronze medal at flyweight. He died in 2009.

Councillor Stevie Corr, who sits on the Parks and Leisure Committee that approved the statues, said the erection of the statues will be a positive move.

“The John Caldwell statue will be a welcome addition to the beautiful Dunville Park,” he said.  “It’s a great way to celebrate the achievement of all of Belfast’s boxers and, in this instance, the people of the greater Falls will be able to learn about John’s success career.”

No timeframe has yet been established for the erection of the statues.

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