Steve Collins

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Steve Collins
Steve Collins.jpg
Collins in 2010
Real name Stephen Collins
Nickname(s) Irish (former)
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 (age 55)
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

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 Irish Americans; 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. Collins was supported by a large crowd of Irish Americans as he battled the veteran champion, with the fight being close early on before McCallum started taking more and more control over the inexperienced Collins.

In 1992, Collins lost on points to Reggie Johnson in a closely contested slugfest for the vacant WBA middleweight title (which had been stripped from McCallum because he signed to fight IBF champion James Toney). Collins then lost 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 United States Craig Cummings TKO 3 (12),
1997–07–05 United Kingdom Kelvin Hall, Glasgow Retained WBO super-middleweight title.
Win 35–3 France Frederic Seillier TKO 5 (12),
1997–02–08 United Kingdom New London Arena,
London, Greater London
Retained WBO super-middleweight title.
Win 34–3 United Kingdom Nigel Benn RTD 6 (12), 3:00 1996–11–09 United Kingdom NYNEX Arena,
Manchester, Greater Manchester
Retained WBO super-middleweight title.
Win 33–3 United Kingdom Nigel Benn TKO 4 (12), 2:44 1996–07–06 United Kingdom NYNEX Arena,
Manchester, Greater Manchester
Retained WBO super-middleweight title.
Win 32–3 United Kingdom Neville Brown TKO 11 (12),
1996–03–09 Republic of Ireland Green Glens Arena,
Millstreet, Munster
Retained WBO super-middleweight title.
Win 31–3 United Kingdom Cornelius Carr UD 12 1995–11–25 Republic of Ireland Point Theatre,
Dublin, Leinster
Retained WBO super-middleweight title.
Win 30–3 United Kingdom Chris Eubank SD 12 1995–09–09 Republic of Ireland Páirc Uí Chaoimh,
Cork, Munster
Retained WBO super-middleweight title.
Win 29–3 United Kingdom Chris Eubank UD 12 1995–03–18 Republic of Ireland Green Glens Arena,
Millstreet, Munster
Won WBO super-middleweight title.
Win 28–3 United Kingdom Chris Pyatt TKO 5 (12),
1994–05–11 United Kingdom Ponds Forge,
Sheffield, South Yorkshire
Won WBO middleweight title.
Win 27–3 United Kingdom Paul Wesley PTS 8 1994–02–09 United Kingdom International Centre,
Brentwood, Essex
Win 26–3 United Kingdom Johnny Melfah TKO 4 (8),
1994–01–22 United Kingdom King's Hall, Belfast
Win 25–3 United Kingdom Wayne Ellis KO 9 (10),
1993–11–30 United Kingdom Cardiff, South Wales
Win 24–3 South Africa Gerhard Botes TKO 7 (12),
1993–06–26 United Kingdom Earls Court Exhibition Centre,
London, Greater London
Won vacant WBA Penta-Continental
middleweight title.
Win 23–3 United Kingdom Ian Strudwick TKO 7 (10),
1993–02–20 United Kingdom Earls Court Exhibition Centre,
London, Greater London
Win 22–3 United Kingdom Johnny Melfah TKO 3 (8),
1993–02–06 United Kingdom Cardiff, South Wales
Loss 21–3 Italy Sumbu Kalambay PTS 12 1992–10–22 Italy Verbania, Piedmont, Italy For European middleweight title.
Loss 21–2 United States Reggie Johnson MD 12 1992–04–22 United States Meadowlands Arena,
East Rutherford, New Jersey
For vacant WBA middleweight title.
Win 21–1 United States Dan Morgan KO 3 (?),
1991–12–11 Republic of Ireland Dublin, Leinster
Win 20–1 France Jean-Noel Camara KO 3 (?),
1991–05–25 France Brest, Brittany
Win 19–1 United States Kenny Snow TKO 3 (?),
1991–05–11 United Kingdom Maysfield Leisure Centre,
Win 18–1 United States Eddie Hall UD 10 1990–11–24 United States Boston Garden,
Boston, Massachusetts
Win 17–1 Venezuela Fermin Chirino TKO 6 (10),
1990–08–16 United States Sheraton Hotel,
Boston, Massachusetts
Loss 16–1 Jamaica Mike McCallum UD 12 1990–02–03 United States Hynes Convention Center,
Boston, Massachusetts
For WBA middleweight title.
Win 16–0 United States Roberto Rosiles TKO 9 (10),
1989–11–21 United States Showboat Hotel and Casino,
Las Vegas, Nevada
Win 15–0 United States Tony Thornton MD 12 1989–07–16 United States Harrah's Marina Resort,
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Retained USBA middleweight title.
Win 14–0 United States Kevin Watts UD 12 1989–05–09 United States Resorts International,
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Won USBA middleweight title.
Win 13–0 United States Paul McPeek TKO 9 (10),
1989–02–07 United States Trump's Castle,
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 12–0 United States Jesse Lanton UD 8 1988–12–10 United States Salem Boys Club,
Salem, New Hampshire
Win 11–0 United States Muhammad Shabazz TKO 4 (10),
1988–10–22 United States Salem Boys Club,
Salem, New Hampshire
Win 10–0 United States Michael Dale UD 8 1988–07–30 United States Romuva Park,
Brockton, Massachusetts
Win 9–0 United States Lester Yarbrough UD 10 1988–05–26 United States Boston Park Plaza Hotel,
Boston, Massachusetts
Win 8–0 United Kingdom Sam Storey UD 10 1988–03–18 United States Boston Garden,
Boston, Massachusetts
Win 7–0 United States Bennie Sims UD 8 1987–12–09 United States Harrah's Marina Resort,
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 6–0 United States Mike Williams UD 6 1987–11–20 United States Resorts International,
Atlantic City, New Jersey
Win 5–0 United States Harold Souther UD 8 1987–10–29 United States Lowell Memorial Auditorium,
Lowell, Massachusetts
Win 4–0 United States Richard Holmes KO 1 (?),
1987–10–10 United States Attleboro, Massachusetts
Win 3–0 United States Richard Holloway KO 2 (4),
1986–12–20 United States Strand Theatre,
Boston, Massachusetts
Win 2–0 United States Mike Bonislawski UD 4 1986–11–26 United States Strand Theatre,
Boston, Massachusetts
Win 1–0 United States Julio Mercado KO 3 (4),
1986–10–24 United States Lowell Memorial Auditorium,
Lowell, Massachusetts
Professional debut.


  1. Jarlath Regan (13 May 2014). "Steve Collins". An Irishman Abroad (Podcast) (34 ed.). Retrieved 10 November 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. Independent article on retirement
  3. "Steve Collins coming out of retirement aged 48 to fight Roy Jones Jr". RTÉ News. 15 January 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Steve Collins boxing record".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Preceded by
Chris Pyatt
WBO Middleweight Champion
May 11, 1994 – March 1995
Title next held by
Lonnie Bradley
Preceded by
Chris Eubank
WBO Super Middleweight Champion
March 18, 1995 – July 5, 1997
Title next held by
Joe Calzaghe