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Brian Magee


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One of the best British super middleweights in his time, Brian Magee was an Ulster fighter who won the interim WBA title late in his career and also previously the IBO and the European title. He was durable, had a good chin, possessed good punching power and enough skills to give the best super middleweights of that time a hard fight. He only failed against the very best, but was only really destroyed by Mikkel Kessler, in his very last fight. 

Born in Lisburn, Northern Ireland, on 9 June 1975, Magee stands 6 feet tall and has a 74 inch reach. As amateur, he represented Ireland at the 1996 Olympics and came to the quarter-finals, where he lost 9-15 on points to Mohamed Bahari of Algeria. He fought as a middleweight in the amateurs and also came to the 1996 Euro championships quarter-final, the 1998 Euro championships final (losing to Zsolt Erdei) and the 1998 Commonwealth Games semi-final. In 1997, he defeated Jeff Lacy to win the Muhammad Ali Cup in Louisville, Ali's hometown. He finally turned pro in May 1999, managed by Pat Magee (no relation) and trained by Harry Hawkins. He won his first 9 fights by stoppage. In his 12th fight, he won the IBO Inter-Continental super middle title by UD against Neil Linford, 29 January 2001 in Peterborough, England. On 10 December same year, he fought the 32-12 Ramon Arturo Britez for the vacant IBO title at Everton Sports Park in Liverpool and sensationally won by KO1 to lift his first bigger belt. He would defend that belt 7 times, most notably stopping the former WBC middle champion Hacine Cherifi by TKO 8 in 2003. 

He finally lost the belt to Robin Reid of Runcorn, England, fighting at home in Ulster Hall, Belfast, 26 June 2004. The shorter 5'9 Reid was a faster and more mobile fighter who could also hit pretty well and Magee went down four times but still lasted the distance and gave Reid a good fight, in the end losing by the scores of 111-115, 112-113 and 111-114. This was his first loss after 22 straight wins and he rebounded by again beating Neil Linford, this time by a cut stoppage in 7. On 16 July 2005, he fought the Ukrainian Vitali Tsypko, a world class contender back then, for the European title, but lost to him by a controversial split decision. After winning 2 more fights, he chose to fight Carl Froch for the British and Commonwealth titles, 26 May 2006 at York Hall, Bethnal Green, London. Froch was seen as a true destroyer back then and was avoided by some top fighters (some even accused Joe Calzaghe of doing that). Magee went down in the first round, but came back to cut Froch under his right eye with a punch in round 4. It was a dead even fight until round 11, when Froch connected with a massive uppercut which hit Magee flush on the chin and he was out cold, even needing oxygen to get back to his senses. Froch was ahead by only one point on two scorecards. 

After his first ko loss and a devastating one, many people counted him out, already being past 30 as well. He then briefly ventured into the light heavy division and fought Tony Oakey for the British belt on 25 August 2007 in Dublin, but the fight ended a draw. Only Mickey Vann, an experienced referee, scored the fight for Magee by 116-113. He went back down to 168 in 2008 and first won the British title by KO 8 against the 14-0 Stevie McGuire and then on 30 January 2010, he beat the Danish hero Mads Larsen by TKO 7 to win the European belt as well. He put Larsen down four times before the stoppage, right in front of Danish fans in Aarhus, Denmark. He made one defense of the belt in September that year when he stopped Roman Aramyan by RTD 8. He then vacated it to challenge the IBF champion Lucian Bute, a Romanian fighting out of Montreal. The fight was held at the Bell Centre in Montreal on 19 March 2011 and Magee put up a good effort but was in the end worn down and stopped by TKO 10. Afterwards, Bute gave him credit for being a very tough and excellent fighter. 

Being 36 years old now, few expected Magee could win a world title now, but that's what he did. He surprisingly was chosen to fight for the interim WBA title against Jaime Barboza of Costa Rica in Barboza's homeland, 30 July 2011. Barboza actually hadn't fought at 168 since 2005 and Magee got the better of him over 12 rounds to become a world champion after 12 years as a pro! All 3 judges had him comfortably ahead. He then returned to Denmark for his first defense against the once-promising Rudy Markussen, a hard hitter and aggressive fighter, who had however been inactive for almost 3 years before coming back in 2010. The fight was held at Brondby Hallen, Brondby (Brøndby), 18 February 2012 and once again, Magee defied the odds by winning by KO 5 after an even fight. Having defeated two top Danish fighters, he was then called out by their number one guy, Mikkel Kessler. In the meantime, Magee was upgraded into a regular champion, so this was his first defense as that. This time, the fight was in Herning, a small town in central Denmark, 8 December that 2012. After a quiet first round, Kessler put Magee down twice in round two with body shots, before ending the fight 24 seconds into the third with another hard body shot which Magee was unable to recover from. 

This fight spelled the end of Brian Magee's career, now 37 years old and having lost his long fought for world title. After being found positive in a test for a banned substance in 2013, he chose to retire. His record is 36 wins, 25 by ko, 5 losses and 1 draw. It is fair to say Brian Magee was a fine fighter who was there to slug it out and gave it all in the ring and in the end-one can say he had a pretty good career. The super middle division was a pretty stacked one by the time he really broke through, which is why his success couldn't last too long. He will go into the annals of Northern Irish boxing history as one of their finest boxers. He overcame some tough odds to in the end succeed at becoming a world champion and that is something he surely is satisfied with.


Brian Magee - Brian Magee, former boxing champion, is latest sports person to test positive for Oxilofrine and is banned for six months

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