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Steve Collins

Steve Collins
Collins in 2010
Real name Stephen Collins
Nickname(s) Celtic Warrior
Rated at Middleweight
Super middleweight
Height 6 ft 0 in (1.83 m)
Reach 71 in (180 cm)
Nationality Irish
Born (1964-07-21) 21 July 1964
Cabra, Dublin, Ireland
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 39
Wins 36
Wins by KO 21
Losses 3

Stephen Collins (born 21 July 1964), more commonly known as Steve Collins, is an Irish former professional boxer. Known as "The Celtic Warrior", Collins is the most successful Irish boxer in professional boxing history, having held the WBO middleweight and super middleweight titles.

Collins began his professional career in the United States, winning regional middleweight and Irish middleweight titles. It was not until Collins reached his early his 30s that he fulfilled his potential. Having competed against the best boxers on both sides of the Atlantic, Collins tends to be linked more to an era in the UK during which there was a notable rivalry between British boxers Chris Eubank and Nigel Benn, both of whom he fought and defeated twice.


  • Early life 1
  • Professional career 2
    • The Boston years 2.1
    • WBO middleweight champion 2.2
    • WBO super-middleweight champion 2.3
  • Retirement 3
  • Professional boxing record 4
  • References 5
  • External links 6

Early life

He was born the third of four sons in 1964. His uncle Jack O'Rourke was an Irish heavyweight champion in the 1960s and his father was a prize amateur fighter. Collins' first taste of the sport came with Corinthians Boxing Club in Dublin city centre. By the time he left Ireland at 21 he was an apprentice electrician at the Guinness Brewery.[1]

Professional career

The Boston years

Steve Collins won 26 Irish titles as an amateur before turning professional in Massachusetts, US in October 1986. Collins worked out of the Petronelli Brothers gym in Brockton, Massachusetts alongside Marvin Hagler. His debut fight was against Julio Mercado on the undercard of a bill that featured his future trainer Freddie Roach and the future Fight of the Year winner Micky Ward. Collins beat Mercado by way of knockout in the third round.

In Boston, Massachusetts in 1988, he defeated Sam Storey to win the Irish middleweight title, then defeated world No. 5, Kevin Watts. After reaching 16–0, Collins was outpointed by Mike McCallum over 12 rounds in a shot at the WBA middleweight title in Boston in 1990.

In 1992, Collins lost on points to Reggie Johnson in a battle for the vacant WBA middleweight title (which had been stripped from McCallum because he signed to fight IBF champion James Toney), and to Sumbu Kalambay for the European title in Italy, before beating Gerhard Botes of South Africa to win the WBC penta continental trinket in 1993.

WBO middleweight champion

Collins then moved to Belfast under the management of Barney Eastwood before basing himself in England where he joined Barry Hearn's Matchroom Boxing. Alongside him was Paul "Silky" Jones, his sparring partner and good friend who later went on to become WBO light-middleweight title holder. Collins was trained by Freddie King in the Romford training camp.

In 1994, he won a world title by defeating Chris Pyatt by stoppage in five rounds to become the WBO middleweight champion. The following year he relinquished this title without a defence, moving up to super-middleweight to challenge Chris Eubank for the WBO title after Eubank's scheduled opponent Ray Close withdrew after failing a brain scan.

WBO super-middleweight champion

Collins defeated the previously unbeaten long-reigning champion Chris Eubank in Millstreet, County Cork, Ireland in March 1995 to win the WBO super-middleweight title. Collins had enlisted the help of well known guru Tony Quinn, and they led the press to believe that Collins would be hypnotised for the fight. True to form, Collins sat in his corner and did not move, listening to headphones during Eubanks' ring entrance.

In the rematch, Collins set a fast pace and adopted wild, brawling tactics that Eubank struggled to deal with, and Collins again won a decision. He defended this title successfully seven times, including two fights against Nigel Benn (rtd4 and rtd6).

Collins was billed to defend against the up-and-coming Joe Calzaghe in October 1997, but withdrew at a late stage because of injury, had his title stripped, and unexpectedly retired. Eubank stepped in to take Collins' place in fighting Calzaghe for the vacant WBO title.

Collins reportedly stated in the press that he had no motivation left, as he had spent the best part of his career chasing Roy Jones Jr. for a unification fight that had been promised to him many times. Collins is reported to have stated in Boxing World that he had spent so long chasing Roy Jones Jr that money was no longer important; that he would "fight him in a phone box in front of two men and a dog". but the bout never materialised. A fight with Calzaghe would do nothing to satisfy the desire he had for fighting Jones. He then added he wanted to retire on a high note with a good pay day, "Joe is a good up-and-coming kid, but he wouldn't fill a parish church".

In 1999, he announced his decision to come out of retirement to fight Jones. Jones is said to have offered in excess of £3 million for the fight. Collins is said to have been suspicious regarding the money that Jones was offering and said to the papers that "for £3 million I would fight Mike Tyson."

Controversy surrounded the fight, as it was rumoured that Collins would have to fight Calzaghe before a showdown with Jones. Collins had accepted this and started to prepare to fight Calzaghe. In his preparation training for the fight that was never to be, Collins collapsed during a sparring session with Howard Eastman. Although tests and a brain scan didn't find any problems, he decided that it was a warning to make him stop boxing, and he retired for a second time.[2]

Collins retired in 1997 with his then wife and children to the town of Bangor, County Down, with a record of: W 36 (21 KOs) – L 3.


Steve has not entirely faded from the spotlight since his retirement. In 1998 he appeared in the film Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (directed by Guy Ritchie) as a boxing gym bouncer.

In 1999, he made a cameo appearance in U2's video for "Sweetest Thing."

Collins featured in the British TV reality show Commando VIP that aired on Five. It put six celebrities through tough military-style challenges after being trained by three real commandos. He appeared alongside fellow ex-boxer Nigel Benn. Collins appeared on The Weakest Link Boxing Special. He was the sixth one voted off

He now lives in St Albans, England.

On 15 January 2013, at the age of 48, Collins announced plans to fight his longtime nemesis Roy Jones, Jr.[3][4] and on 5 October, at 49 years old, he appeared in a three round exhibition against former welterweight pro Frank Harrington.

Professional boxing record

36 Wins (21 KOs), 3 Losses[5]
Res. Record Opponent Type Round,
Date Location Notes
Win 36–3 Craig Cummings TKO 3 (12),
1997–07–05 Kelvin Hall, Glasgow Retained WBO super-middleweight title.
Win 35–3 Frederic Seillier TKO 5 (12),
1997–02–08 New London Arena,
London, Greater London
Retained WBO super-middleweight title.
Win 34–3 Nigel Benn RTD 6 (12) 1996–11–09 NYNEX Arena,
Manchester, Greater Manchester
Retained WBO super-middleweight title.
Win 33–3 Nigel Benn RTD 4 (12),
1996–07–06 NYNEX Arena,
Manchester, Greater Manchester
Retained WBO super-middleweight title.
Win 32–3 Neville Brown TKO 11 (12),
1996–03–09 Green Glens Arena,
Millstreet, Munster
Retained WBO super-middleweight title.
Win 31–3 Cornelius Carr UD 12 1995–11–25 Point Theatre,
Dublin, Leinster
Retained WBO super-middleweight title.
Win 30–3 Chris Eubank SD 12 1995–09–09 Páirc Uí Chaoimh,
Cork, Munster
Retained WBO super-middleweight title.
Win 29–3 Chris Eubank UD 12 1995–03–18 Green Glens Arena,
Millstreet, Munster
Won WBO super-middleweight title.
Win 28–3 Chris Pyatt TKO 5 (12),
1994–05–11 Ponds Forge,
Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Won WBO middleweight title.
Win 27–3 Paul Wesley PTS 8 1994–02–09 International Centre,
Brentwood, Essex
Win 26–3 Johnny Melfah TKO 4 (8),
1994–01–22 King's Hall, Belfast
Win 25–3 Wayne Ellis KO 9 (10),
1993–11–30 Cardiff, South Wales
Win 24–3 Gerhard Botes TKO 7 (12),
1993–06–26 Earls Court Exhibition Centre,
London, Greater London
Won vacant WBA Penta-Continental
middleweight title.
Win 23–3 Ian Strudwick TKO 7 (10),
1993–02–20 Earls Court Exhibition Centre,
London, Greater London
Win 22–3 Johnny Melfah TKO 3 (8),
1993–02–06 Cardiff, South Wales
Loss 21–3 Sumbu Kalambay PTS 12 1992–10–22 Verbania, Piedmont, Italy For European middleweight title.
Loss 21–2 Reggie Johnson MD 12 1992–04–22 Meadowlands Arena,
East Rutherford, New Jersey
For vacant WBA middleweight title.
Win 21–1 Dan Morgan KO 3 (?),
1991–12–11 Dublin, Leinster
Win 20–1 Jean-Noel Camara KO 3 (?),
1991–05–25 Brest, Brittany
Win 19–1 Kenny Snow TKO 3 (?),
1991–05–11 Maysfield Leisure Centre,
Win 18–1 Eddie Hall UD 10 1990–11–24 Boston Garden,
Boston, Massachusetts
Win 17–1 Fermin Chirino TKO 6 (10),
1990–08–16 Sheraton Hotel,
Boston, Massachusetts
Loss 16–1 Mike McCallum UD 12 1990–02–03 Hynes Convention Center,
Boston, Massachusetts
For WBA middleweight title.
Win 16–0 Roberto Rosiles TKO 9 (10),
1989–11–21 Showboat Hotel and Casino,
Las Vegas, Nevada
Win 15–0 Tony Thornton MD 12 1989–07–16 Harrah's Marina Resort,
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Retained USBA middleweight title.
Win 14–0 Kevin Watts UD 12 1989–05–09 Resorts International,
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Won USBA middleweight title.
Win 13–0 Paul McPeek TKO 9 (10),
1989–02–07 Trump's Castle,
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 12–0 Jesse Lanton UD 8 1988–12–10 Salem Boys Club,
Salem, New Hampshire
Win 11–0 Muhammad Shabazz TKO 4 (10),
1988–10–22 Salem Boys Club,
Salem, New Hampshire
Win 10–0 Michael Dale UD 8 1988–07–30 Romuva Park,
Brockton, Massachusetts
Win 9–0 Lester Yarbrough UD 10 1988–05–26 Boston Park Plaza Hotel,
Boston, Massachusetts
Win 8–0 Sam Storey UD 10 1988–03–18 Boston Garden,
Boston, Massachusetts
Win 7–0 Bennie Sims UD 8 1987–12–09 Harrah's Marina Resort,
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 6–0 Mike Williams UD 6 1987–11–20 Resorts International,
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 5–0 Harold Souther UD 8 1987–10–29 Lowell Memorial Auditorium,
Lowell, Massachusetts
Win 4–0 Richard Holmes KO 1 (?),
1987–10–10 Attleboro, Massachusetts
Win 3–0 Richard Holloway KO 2 (4),
1986–12–20 Strand Theatre,
Boston, Massachusetts
Win 2–0 Mike Bonislawski UD 4 1986–11–26 Strand Theatre,
Boston, Massachusetts
Win 1–0 Julio Mercado KO 3 (4),
1986–10–24 Lowell Memorial Auditorium,
Lowell, Massachusetts
Professional debut.
Preceded by
Chris Pyatt
WBO Middleweight Champion
11 May 1994 – March 1995 (vacated)
Succeeded by
Lonnie Bradley
Preceded by
Chris Eubank
WBO Super middleweight Champion
18 March 1995 – 5 July 1997 (retired)
Succeeded by
Joe Calzaghe


  1. ^  
  2. ^ Independent article on retirement
  3. ^ "Steve Collins coming out of retirement aged 48 to fight Roy Jones Jr". RTÉ News. 15 January 2013. 
  4. ^ "Former world champion Collins to come out of retirement at 48 for grudge match with American ring legend Jones". Daily Mail (London). 16 January 2013. Retrieved 21 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "Steve Collins boxing record". 

External links

  • Official Website
  • Professional boxing record for Steve Collins from BoxRec
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