Newry born boxer Danny McAlinden passed away yesterday after a long battle with cancer. Danny made his home in Coventry in the early 1960's and became a Heavyweight British and Commonwealth Champion in 1972 with his defeat of Jack Bodell in two rounds.

In his book A Shared Home Place the late Seamus Mallon recalls teaching him at St Joseph's School in Newry and even sparring with him -  although McAlinden always won!

The late Danny Mcalinden, left, when he received his Sports award from Newry and Mourne Mayor John Feehan.
The late Danny Mcalinden, left, when he received his Sports award from Newry and Mourne Mayor John Feehan.

Danny was the recipient of the Hall of Fame Award at the 2009 Newry and Mourne Sports Awards.

Mayor at the time, John Feehan nominated him for the award and recalls presenting him with it. On the night they put his 1972  heavyweight championship fight on the big screen. Commenting the former Mayor recalls "You would have thought it was a live fight. The crowd in the Canal Court were going mad cheering"

Danny was always loud in his praise of the Newry men who gave him a start in Boxing. Bosco men like John Fearon, RIP and Tom Tumilty. Remembering them in 2010 Danny said "They gave their time willingly, without thought of payment. The salt of the earth. There are few people like those today. Apart that is from Seamus McCormick who is a latter day Fearon"

"John Fearon was the man who taught me how to box. He put the first gloves on me. I had never thrown a punch until I met him"

A cover of Newry Boxing champion Danny (Dangerous) McAlinden

Danny died 50 years to the day after he out-pointed Rahman Ali over six rounds in the chief support for Muhammad Ali’s legendary ‘Fight of the Century’ rumble with Joe Frazier at Madison Square Garden, New York. 

Wins for McAlinden and Frazier that night in ‘the Garden’ meant that both Ali brothers lost and the county Down native – who was involved in some legendary slugfests throughout his 12-year as a pro - went on to headline the bill at Villa Park, Birmingham the following year when he knocked out Jack Bodell to win those British and Commonwealth titles. 

Over two savage rounds, McAlinden blasted Bodell into defeat and retirement. It was a typical full-blooded performance from McAlinden and was his 25th contest in slightly over three years as a professional, mostly fighting on the fast and furious London circuit of the early 1970s. He was 21-2-2 at that stage and boxed on home soil just twice, with the first of those bouts in Derry in July 1977 when he beat Sean McKenna on a Charlie Nash undercard to win the Northern Ireland Area heavyweight title. At the end of his career, 36 of his 45 fights finished inside the distance.  

Danny passed away yesterday aged 73 after a long battle with cancer.

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