Michael Conlan criticised over Wolfe Tones ringwalk song

Belfast fighter walked out to song in New York featuring ‘Ooh Ahh Up The Ra’ lyrics

Michael Conlan makes his entrance to the ring ahead of his  featherweight fight   against Ruben Garcia Hernandez at  Madison Square Garden in  New York on Sunday night. Photograph: Emily Harney/Inpho

Michael Conlan makes his entrance to the ring ahead of his featherweight fight against Ruben Garcia Hernandez at Madison Square Garden in New York on Sunday night. Photograph: Emily Harney/Inpho

 

Belfast featherweight Michael Conlan has been criticised for his ringwalk song prior to his bout on St Patrick’s Day in New York as it contained a pro-IRA lyric.

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

Beforehand, though, 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.

DUP Belfast councillor Brian Kingston wrote on his Twitter account: “Very disappointing that Michael Conlon does not follow the lead of many previous boxing and sporting heroes so that people can support him across the divide.

“Disgraceful that he has no regard for the victims of IRA terrorism.”

Ulster Unionist Party MLA John Stewart posted a video of the ringwalk on his Facebook alongside the caption: “The sport of boxing has done so much to break down barriers, cross the divide and unite people from all backgrounds in Northern Ireland.

“It’s deeply regrettable that Michael Conlon [sic] doesn’t respect or understand this. It’s time someone told him that walking out to ‘Oh Ahh Up the RA’ is dragging him and the sport into the gutter.”

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

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