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Thursday 21 November 2019

Boxer Conlan sorry for fans' singing 'Up The Ra'

Boxer Michael Conlan
Boxer Michael Conlan

Belfast featherweight boxer Michael Conlan has apologised for his ring walk song before a bout on St Patrick's Day in New York as it contained a pro-IRA lyric.

The London 2012 Olympic bronze medallist extended his unbeaten professional record to 11-0 with a points win over Ruben Garcia Hernandez at the Madison Square Garden Theatre.

Beforehand, the Wolfe Tones' Celtic Symphony - which contains the lyric "Ooh Ahh Up The Ra" - was blared around the venue, prompting a backlash from unionist politicians.

Conlon told the BBC: "I misjudged the reaction, and to the people I offended I definitely apologise."

The sportsman (27) added he will not use the music again.

Fought

Conlan has fought on St Patrick's Day in each of the past three years at the same venue.

A number of spectators sang the "Up The Ra" lyric during the contest on March 17.

The fighter said: "I wasn't listening to what anyone was singing - I was focused on my opponent and doing my job.

"It was a misjudgment by me, and we'll not be using the music again.

"I've learned I'm a role model, I'm under the microscope and things like this are not good for boxing."

He said he meant no offence, adding that boxing was a sport that brought people together.

He always wanted to be part of that and in future he would be completely part of that.

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