Damaen Kelly: Belfast’s Gritty Boxing Warrior

Damaen Kelly, a former professional boxer from Belfast, Northern Ireland, etched his name in the annals of Irish boxing with his unwavering determination and relentless fighting spirit. Born on April 3, 1973, Kelly embarked on a remarkable journey that saw him conquer numerous challenges and achieve remarkable feats in the ring.

As an amateur, Kelly represented Ireland at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, reaching the quarterfinals in the flyweight division. His impressive performances earned him bronze medals at the 1993 World Championships and the 1996 European Championships, showcasing his talent and potential on the international stage.

Turning professional in 1997, Kelly quickly made his mark, capturing the British and Commonwealth flyweight titles in 1999. His ascent continued as he claimed the European flyweight title in 2000 and the IBO flyweight title later that year, solidifying his status as a force to be reckoned with in the lower weight divisions.

Kelly’s tenacity and never-say-die attitude were on full display in his epic battles against formidable opponents. His trilogy with Simone Maludrottu, an Italian boxer, was particularly memorable, with their first encounter in 2006 marred by controversy as Kelly was denied a victory in a highly contentious decision. However, Kelly silenced his critics in the rematch, stopping Maludrottu in three rounds to claim the European bantamweight title.

Despite facing adversity both inside and outside the ring, Kelly’s resilience shone through. In 2012, he faced legal troubles after being accused of assaulting his estranged wife, but he remained steadfast in his pursuit of redemption and continued to inspire aspiring boxers with his unwavering spirit.

Kelly’s career was a testament to the grit and determination that defined Irish boxing. His ability to overcome obstacles, both physical and personal, earned him a place among the greats of the sport. While his journey was not without its challenges, Damaen Kelly’s legacy as a true warrior of the ring will forever be etched in the hearts of boxing enthusiasts worldwide.


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