Paul Dunne, Bantamweight, born 12th Feb 1933 in Dublin Ireland.

Paul started boxing for the Crumlin boxing club, Dublin back in 1944, although he struggled to get fights at first as he was small for his age and had a fearsome reputation for his sparring sessions at the club, however, he went onto to win the Irish title as a schoolboy.

Paul’s family moved over to Manchester when he was just 14 years old and he quickly found the nearest boxing club at the Holy Name Boxing club on Oxford road, Chorlton on Medlock.

In 1952 Paul won the Northern Counties amateur Title beating Britain’s 1948 Olympic representative along the way.

Aged just nineteen on the 22nd of May 1952 Paul made his professional debut at the Liverpool stadium and scored a points win over Jim Shaw. He was managed by the well respected Len Steele and trained in Len’s gym at Aston U Lyne. Over the next 5 months he racked up five more wins which quickly sprung him up the ratings. There were fighters such as Peter Keenan, his brother Jackie Bradock, Frank Johnson, Tommy Profitt and Stan Skinkiss at the top of their weight class back then and young Paul Dunne was intending to join them! The only problem was he wasn’t eligible to box for a British title due to his Irish heritage.

There was another young boxer in Len Steels gym called Kenny Daniels and the two young boxers had many a tear up in the Ashton gym and they became great friends as they still are to this day. Both fighters would fight on the same shows and when only one of them was boxing the other would attend and support the other. Kenny and Paul were always dressed in the best attire as Len Steel ran a gents outfitters and liked to see his fighters suited and booted when they appeared at shows.

Paul was in and out of the top ten rated bantamweights in this country between 1953 and 1957, the great Peter Keenan dominated the bantamweight division during those years and it was always Pauls dream to challenge him. In November 1954 Paul was offered a dream fight at the Coliseum Arena at New Orleans, Louisiana in the U.S.A. against U.S title contender Carlos Chavez. Manchester and New Orleans were a long way apart in those days so he didn’t enjoy the luxury of an airplane journey, instead he got the bus into Manchester, the train over to Liverpool, which was followed by a two week boat crossing to Boston, Massachusetts, from there he took a 3 day train journey down to Louisiana. Just to finish the journey he was collected on horseback at the train station and rode in to New Orleans ready for his fight with Chavez only three days later.

Fight night came and the bout was the chief support to the headline bout, Paul went through some tricky moments taking a count in round three, however, against all the odds he rallied and knocked Chavez out in the 7th round! This was a fantastic achievement as he wasn’t really supposed to win the bout had spoiled the script for the Americans, but holding no grudge they named Paul a hero in New Orleans that night, congratulations flooded in. He set of for the three week journey home with fifty dollars in his pocket and a great big smile of achievement.

Paul’s retirement in 1957 was unexpected; he had beaten Jackie Tiler on the 6th of May 1957, Jackie boxed again two weeks later and suffered injuries that would cost him his life nine days later. Paul went to visit Jackie at his bedside whilst he was in the infirmary and decided there and then he had

seen enough, he had enjoyed a good career and left behind a very respectable record of 22 wins from 31 bouts.

Paul Dunne stayed away from boxing for nearly twenty years enjoying life with his family, but the urge became too great and he opened up the a Sale West amateur boxing club.

Paul produced some top rated lads including Peter Collins, John Best, John White, Jo Blessing, Brian Seabright and John Cox, all of these boys were top liners winning many domestic titles, however, there was a boy walked through the door one day with his dad called Richard Hatton. Richard already had some experience whilst boxing at the Mottram & Hattersley club over in Hyde under the guidance of Ted Peate so he had a good understanding of boxing, but Paul was to turn him into something very special.

Paul renamed Richard Ricky and together they won every amateur British title possible, in eighty five fights Ricky won eighty four and lost one before he turned professional and the rest is history.

Paul and Ricky are still good friends and Ricky always sent Paul tickets for his fights. Paul is still overseeing activities at Sale West boxing club and Ricky attends every show he can.


Gavin Stirrup