Haskins vs Burnett: We look back at the greatest fighters from Northern Ireland
By Neel Khagram
Last Updated: 08/06/17 2:17pm
Ryan Burnett has the chance to etch his name in Northern Ireland's boxing history and become a world champion this Saturday night.
The 25-year-old (16-0-KO9) will have home advantage when he challenges Lee Haskins for the IBF bantamweight title in Belfast, live on Sky Sports, in his seventeenth professional outing.
We look back at Burnett's fellow countrymen who have won world championship honours.
Rinty Monaghan (52-9-8-KO19)
A part-time cabaret artist during World War II, Monaghan rose to prominence in the ring after outpointing Dado Marino in 1947 to become flyweight world champion.
A knockout victory against Scotland's Jackie Paterson a year later earned him the British and Commonwealth flyweight titles and recognition as the undisputed king at 112lbs. Monaghan eventually retired in 1950 due to ill-health. In 2015, a statue of the popular Belfast fighter was erected outside the city's Cathedral Gardens in his honour.
Johnny Caldwell (29-5-1-KO14)
Born in Belfast, Caldwell represented Ireland at the 1956 Olympic Games in Melbourne and won a bronze medal.
He claimed the world bantamweight title in 1961 against Alphonse Halimi in the professional ranks, but lost a local derby to Freddie Gilroy for the British and Commonwealth titles a year later. The defeat was arguably the lowest point in Caldwell's career given the mass attention the fight drew domestically.
Barry McGuigan (32-3-KO28)
Born in the border town of Clones, McGuigan represented Northern Ireland at the 1978 Commonwealth Games. As a professional he lost his third contest but regrouped to set up a fight against Eusebio Pedroza for the WBA featherweight at Loftus Road in 1985.
The bout drew in a reported television audience of 20 million and saw McGuigan outpoint his opponent to become world champion.
He made two defences before losing to Steve Cruz in the searing heat of Caesar's Palace out in Las Vegas in 1986 and never returned to world level again. McGuigan's greatest legacy is perhaps his symbolic representation of neutrality during the troubled times in Northern Ireland.
Dave McAuley (18-3-2-KO8)
Dave 'Boy' McAuley from Larne, Northern Ireland, was known for his immense bravery in the ring. This was best illustrated when he challenged Fidel Bassa for the WBA flyweight title and just fell short in 1987 and 1988 in two fight-of-the-year contenders.
A year later he did fulfil his destiny to become world champion after outpointing Duke McKenzie in 1989 and made five defences before losing to Rodolfo Blanco in 1992.
Eamonn Loughran (26-2-1-KO13)
Loughran drew his third professional fight and lost his 18th but became world champion after outpointing Lorenzo Smith in Belfast to earn the vacant WBO welterweight title in 1993.
The Ballymena resident made five defences of his belt but suffered a knockout defeat in 1996 to Jose Luis Lopez in what turned out to be his last fight. Loughran never returned to boxing and is currently a professional in the construction industry.
Wayne McCullough (27-7-KO18)
The Belfast-born fighter represented Ireland at the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games and won a silver medal before embarking on a professional career which saw him travel to Japan in his 17th outing and rip the WBC bantamweight world title from Yasuei Yakushiji in 1995.
McCullough made three defences of his title before suffering high-profile defeats to Naseem Hamed, Erik Morales and Scott Harrison at super-bantamweight and featherweight respectively as he failed in his attempts to become a multi-weight world champion. The 'Pocket Rocket' currently resides in Las Vegas and trains up-and-coming fighters.
Brian Magee (36-5-1-KO25)
A product of the Holy Trinity Boxing Club in Belfast, Magee was beaten at the quarter-final stages of 1996 Atlanta Olympic Games but won a silver and bronze medal at the European and Commonwealth Games respectively two years later.
As a professional, Magee claimed the IBO super-middleweight world title in his 14th fight but suffered his first professional loss to Robin Reid three years later in 2004. He was then defeated by Carl Froch for the British and Commonwealth titles in 2006 and stopped by Lucian Bute in 2011 for the IBF world title.
Magee did win the 'interim' WBA world title four months later against Jamie Barboza - a belt which was eventually upgraded to 'regular' WBA world champion status. However, a 2012 loss to Mikkel Kessler in his second defence spelt the end of his career.
Carl Frampton (23-1-KO14)
Under the mentorship of Barry McGuigan, 'The Jackal' shot to prominence in his 15th fight when he stopped former world champion Steve Molitor in front of his adoring Belfast audience. He then captured the European title against Kiko Martinez in his next fight.
Frampton faced the Spaniard for the IBF super-bantamweight world title three fights later and successfully repeated the victory in the Belfast open air to become world champion. A unification victory against Scott Quigg in 2016 cemented his status as the best 122lbs fighter domestically.
A move up to featherweight and victory over the previously unbeaten Leo Santa Cruz in New York followed. However, the 30-year-old could not repeat the result in the rematch, losing his own unbeaten record in January.
Watch Lee Haskins v Ryan Burnett, live from the Odyssey Arena, Belfast, on Saturday, Sky Sports 2, from 8pm.