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20th Dec 2023

Johnny Nelson on learning the difference between an Irish fighter and a ‘culchie’ Irish fighter

Lee Costello

Johnny Nelson

“‘They take no nonsense.”

Sky Sports boxing pundit Johnny Nelson explains why he had to learn the difference between an Irish fighter and a ‘culchie’ Irish fighter.

The former Cruiserweight champion of the world fought at the famous Ingle gym in Sheffield, ran by Irishman Brendan Ingle, who trained superstars like Prince Naseem Hamed and Kell Brook.

Former world champion Johnny Nelson explains “the two things” you need to watch out for when fighting an Irish boxer.

Johnny Nelson

In an exclusive interview with SportsJOE thanks to Grosvenor Sport Nelson explains that when fighting Irish fighters, there are “two things” you need to watch out for.

“Brendan, always said ‘when you fight an Irish fighter, there’s two things you have got to watch out for.

“You know they can fight that’s one thing. They’ll be in your face, they will not let you let you off the hook. They take no prisoners and they are so driven. They are driven, they’re driven by something – they fight like they have got a proper chip on their shoulder.

“He said, when you get into fighting an Irish fighter, you’ve got to make sure you’re fit. Don’t try and bull**** through the fight. You’ve gotta win and you’re talent will win. Your skill will win, so when it comes to come to Irish fighters, they’re relentless.

“They are good boxers, they are really good boxers, but they are good boxers because they are very brave, courageous boxers.

“Brendan says the Irish fighters are passionate. They have a belief, even if nobody else believes in them. They are passionate fighters, you cannot go in there cut, you’ve got to go in there fit and confident, otherwise you’re going to get beat.”

Johnny Nelson on learning the difference between an Irish fighter and a ‘culchie’ Irish fighter.

Johnny Nelson

Nelson tells a funny story about how he learned what a “culchie” Irish person was, and how it meant he had to treat that fight differently.

“There was this fighter from Leeds called Crawford Ashley. He had an Irish trainer. Sorry I can’t remember the trainer’s name, but Brendan said this trainer is this thing, what we call ‘culchie Irish,’ – I don’t know what that means.

“‘They take no nonsense’, he said. ‘So I want you to do a backflip in the ring, do a shuffle, point to him and he’ll go mad and when he goes mad, he’s going to go mad at his fighter.

“‘They will be so angry at what you’ve done, they’ll take it as a disrespect. He won’t be able to relay any messages to him because he will be that angry at what you’ve done.’

“And so we walked to the stairs to get in the ring. And I’m looking thinking ‘I’m going to look a right idiot here, Bren.’

“He slapped my arse and said ‘get it done’, so I did a front-roll, flipped up, did the shuffle and I then looked at Bren and thought ‘s***  man, you got it right’.”

Needless to say that Nelson won that fight, and the trainer in question was furious with the tactics deployed, but Ingle, as a fellow Irishman, was just too cute for the opposition corner that evening.

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