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Newly formed group aims to promote Irish boxing talent

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Jay Mwamba

Fianna United, a new boxing management group that hopes to become a major player in developing and promoting Irish talent on both sides of the Atlantic, was launched last weekend.

The brainchild of Wexford-born Martin Somers and Philadelphia filmmaker Tom Moran, whose previous collaboration was a documentary on the rock band Black 47, Fianna got off to a winning start at a professional show in Harrisburg, Pa.

On the card, Fianna’s, biggest non-Irish talent, junior welterweight Nick Acevedo, a 1991 world junior amateur champion, scored a second round KO over Curtis Wilkens to improve to 8-0 (6 KOs).

But it’s with managing Irish fighters, both in the United States and Ireland, that Fianna wants to make its mark.

"I believe that all too often, Irish fighters have gotten lost and big paydays have been missed by them not having an Irish-American connection," said Somers, who runs an Irish mail order business in Highland Mills, N.Y.

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Somers has established contacts with boxing officials in the U.S. and Ireland, among them New Jersey’s Main Events, who promote Lennox Lewis, Andrew Golota, Pernell Whitaker, Fernando Vargas, Ike Quartey and other world-class fighters.

In addition, Tim Witherspoon, an erstwhile two-time world heavyweight champ who was once managed by Moran, has joined the New York-based Fianna as a trainer and advisor.

"Both I and Tom are confident that Fianna has a solid network in place that will benefit deserving Irish boxers by giving them the opportunity to compete at the highest level," Somers said.

"The success of many talented Irish fighters will depend on creating a following at the grassroots level and getting people to turn out and support the boxers," added Somers, who will handle the marketing aspect.

"He has some great ideas to create a presence for Irish fighters here in America," Moran said of his partner.

Fianna’s first Irish signing is ex-IBO World Super Bantamweight Champion John "Quiet Man" Lowey, the Chicago-based Belfastman.

A former 1988 Olympic teammate of Wayne McCullough’s, Lowey ( 25-2, 18 KOs) will make his debut under Fianna’s management at Philadelphia’s legendary Blue Horizon on Oct. 29. It will be his first fight since losing to WBC 122-pound titlist Erik Morales, who defends against McCullough in Detroit on Oct. 22.

"It has been more than 18 months since my world title bout with Morales and I am very happy to be back in the ring and becoming a contender again in the (super bantamweight) division," said Lowey, whose only other loss was to another former world titlist, Kennedy McKinney.

Somers and Moran tout Fianna as being a uniquely structured boxing organization, geared toward supporting the fighters.

"We are very flexible in how we work, adapting to the needs of individual fighters, though functioning as a management group," Moran said. "Our philosophy is we work for the fighter and the principals of loyalty, respect, trust and integrity drive the business."

Moran, whose grandparents emigrated from Counties Mayo and Sligo in the early 1920s, got started in boxing when making a documentary about Philadelphia’s world-renowned boxers. During filming, he met Tim Witherspoon, who he later agreed to manage. Moran spearheaded Witherspoon’s successful lawsuit against promoter Don King.

"Tom is the ideal person for Fianna United," Somers said. "He has accomplished a lot in the fight game and he has instant credibility in the boxing world."

For more information on Fianna United, email

boxing@irishvisions.com.

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