Important Announcement
PubHTML5 Scheduled Server Maintenance on (GMT) Sunday, June 26th, 2:00 am - 8:00 am.
PubHTML5 site will be inoperative during the times indicated!



Published by Sherman Wright, 2020-08-23 17:10:46



Read the Text Version


1 Big Rogie: in the beginning. Ulster boxing both amateur and professional has had its fair share of characters over the years, however, it is most certainly fair to say that there has never been a bigger character that Martin Rogan, and that's not for size either. Martin Rogan, born and bred in Belfast in 1971 didn't actually take up boxing until he was 30yo. Martin was more a GAA man and loved a game of Hurling as it steeped in the family . Enjoying a game for his local club O'Donovan Rossa's of Belfast, Martin, after a number of years competing, found that there was just something missing from his own personal perspective. \"I needed a challenge, I needed something to challenge me personally\" said Martin when I asked him about his beginnings in the fight game. After some thought and a bit of self-realisation \"Big Rogie\" decided that that was it, he was handing in the Hurl and swapping it for a set of boxing gloves. He then turned to amateur boxing in 2000 where he would first of all lift the County Antrim Heavyweight Title. This was a great start for a big man who had just turned 28yo. By the year 2004 Martin had been part of five Ulster Heavyweight title fights. He collected two of them back to back after just 3yrs in the game. He then also added Irish Titles at both Intermediate and then senior level. Again for a man who had only literally come into the game this was an exceptional feat.  Martin went on to captain Ulster and Ireland and also took part in the Olympic qualifiers where he sadly in the end suffered defeat to Maurice Wack. Martin had decided then that the amateur game was over and gave thought to turning professional. Martin is seen here on the right hand shoulder of Irish team mates Dermot Hamill and Conal Carmichael in Havana, Cuba, 2001.

2 Turning Pro It was in turning professional with John Breen, the not only local famous boxing coach, but the world famous gym owner in Belfast, that Martin saw the light. I asked Martin about this time in his life, he replied \"It was simply the next progression and was I up for it, you better believe it\" he said famously. So the deal was struck. Martin was to train like a professional in Breens gym. John Breen was man of integrity. It was either 100% or nothing. Martin knew the score right from the off and was more than willing to match these terms, besides, where would he get if he fooled himself anyway. Martin stepped up the game in Breens and was well on his way to getting his first date in the professional ring. Pictured alongside his life long friend and assistant coach, another Irish boxing legend, Mr Eamon Magee, Martin thoroughly enjoyed his new way of life. Martin's first date with destiny lay on 28th October 2004 where in the home of Ulster boxing, The Ulster Hall Belfast, Martin stepped out into new territory. However, he also stepped back into the changing room after a short time in the ring gaining a 1st rd KO over Lee Montford from England. This was to be the same story for Martin's first seven fights. Having scored four KO's and three unanimous points decisions in his first seven fights \"Rogie\" was then offered the opportunity of a lifetime. The newly created \"Prize Fighter\" tournament was a bouncing board to better things for the winner. British Title and even Commonwealth title shots would almost certainly lay ahead as part of the prospectus handed to the man who could grin and bare the rigours of the format of the competition. Set in a fight-off scenario, each fighter would be drawn out of a panel of eight. This would conclude ion a quarter-final, semi=final then final format. Three fights in the one night for the finalists with the winner taking away a handsome cheque as well as the trophy, however, more importanly, the future options that would lay ahead for the winner would be the real purse.

3 Prize Fighter It's April 11th 2008, it's time to rumble. The Prizefighter, live on Sky TV, being viewed by millions across the UK and Ireland and by literally every Ulster fight fan in bars, clubs and front living rooms around the province. The support \"Bog Martin\" had was immense. Martin also went into this tournament with a red hot belief that he was also coming out the winner. Having asked Martin did he believe he would win it, the big man simply said \"You better believe it.\" So in steps \"Rogie\" Ulster's new heavyweight hope to take his chance in his first fight and quarter-final vs Alex Ibbs from England. In the first round Martin opened up around Ibbs and seen weaknesses where in the second he would hope to capitilise pon. And true to the book thats what Martin done. In the 2nd round Martin off loaded on Ibbs scoring a TKO half way through the round. This gave Martin a great boost of his already striong confidence within himself and it was onwards into the next round, the semi-final. The semi-final was to be against another English fighter. Martin was drawn against David Ferguson in what looked like being s tough enough fight for both boxers. However, after 3rds where Martin literally pummeled Ferguson, without return of anything dangerous, the judges were all in favour with a unanimous decision for \"Rogie\" and it was next the final. This is quite remarkable in context. Having only had ten professional fights up until now Martin Rogan is now preparing to step into the ring to contest the final of the highly toutes \"Prize Fighter\" tournament live on Sky TV viewed by millions. The opportunity that lays with the winner of this competition ammasses anything they could ever had thought of in reality. Martin's opponent in the final was to be David Dolan from England. Dolan had also won his pre-final fights and this most certainly billed to be a cracker never mind the bouncing block that the competition provides for the winner.

4 Winning The Prize Fighter The crowds were waiting with anticipation. Fans at home were clearly on the edge of their seat. Big Martin Rogan, a Belfast man, a loveable character and most importanly a respectable gentleman had simply said to himself a number of years previous that he was for giving it a go in the fight game. Here he finds himself getting ready to come out to participate in the final of the newly created Prize Fighter Tournament live on SKY TV and in front of millions of fight fans none more than his home province of Ulster. This wasn't just another fight, this was the opportunity of a lifetime. This was it, this was the deciding moment in all of that hard work that Martin had put in and had put into him by John Breen and the faith that the people of Ulster carried in him was immense. Martin ligted the people. The people were happy, there was was cheers of joy, pubs were in business because the big man was on television. Ulster  fight fans were electric and Martin's home city of Belfast was fully behind \"The big man.\" So the bell rung for the 1st rd and Martin got a feel of Dolan, who was by no means any slouch. Dolan had been similar to Martin in qualifying for the final. He also had scored unanimous decisions over his opponents. He, like Martin, was there on merit. However, Martin was landing the better of the exchanges in the first round. The 2nd round was more the same with Rogan getting the better of Dolan. Dolan seemed to be lack lustre whereas the big Ulsterman was bubbling with rage and also determination to make sure that when the opportunity knocked, that he was on the end of it. Having won the 3rd and final round Martin Rogan was then announced as the winner of The Prize Fighter Heavyweight Competition.

5 Bring it on So Martin Rogan was the winner of The Prize Fighter. This was the platform that any fighter dreamed of. The journey Martin was on up until now was unbelievable, but the ride was about to become something of Ulster boxing folklore. In 2000, the olympics took place in Australia. The winner of the heavyweight gold medal was Audley Harrison. Previous winners of this prestigious title went on to become world professional champions. However, after turning professional Harrison, in December 2006 agreed to fight the fighting pride of Ulster in London. This was the sort of fight that Martin could only ever have dreamed off. When Harrison won the olympic heavyweight title, Martin was starting off as the County Antrim Heavyweight champion. The comparisons are a million miles apart. The Ulsterman believed held no fear from \"Fraudley Audley\" who in his professional career to date had 26 fights and 23 wins. Martin fought out a decision on points over Harrison and the lights shone brightly on Ulsters fighting pride, again.

6 Ulster's Pride and Joy On 28 February 2009, Rogan was drawn up to fight for the Heavyweight Title of The Commonwealth against holder and very well experienced fighter Matt Skelton. Skelton, had been the winning, defending and retaining British and Commonwealth champion so as far as his recent activity had been concerned, this was a major step up for Rogie, who of course when asked again did he think he had what it took to bring home the Commonwealth Heavyweight Title to Belfast, Martin replied, \"You better believe It.\" So in front of a massive crowd in the Birmingham National Indoor Arena Martin was ready not only to fight for his biggest prize yet, but also for the fighting fans of Ulster never mind his own campo and family. After 11 rounds of swapping punches almost to a standstill, Martin gave it one last push as the directions from his corner were to push and keep pushing. During the fight the momentum see-sawed from one man to the other, however, In the later part of the round Martin put Skelton on the floor and it as then down to the referee who stopped the fight as Skelton had taken too much. Martin Rogan had just lifted the Commonwealth Heavyweight Title after only 12 fights at 38yrs of age.

7 Suffering Defeat The ride that Martin Rogan was on up until this stage of his career was literally something out of a fairy tale story. I asked Martin about the journey he was on at this time in his life, he said \"Honestly, when I turned pro I didn't think I was going to be any great shakes, but I just kept on winning.\" The reality is also that now that Martin is a title holder, the hard work now begins in defending the right to hold the title. Bigger men and stronger fighters are amond the bracket that qualify for that shot. In his first defence Martin is to offer the 2009 Prizefighter winner Sam Sexton a shot at the title. This was billed as \"The Battle of The Prizefighters.\" On the night in a packed sold-out Odyssey Arena in Belfast after 2 mins 37 seconds of the 8th rd Martin was to lose his title as Sexton had forced a stoppage and the referee then announced Sexton as the new Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion. After the fight \"Rogie\" was the first to state that he was beaten by the better fighter on the night and that he wishes Sam all the best,\" however, he also declared \"I want a re- match.\" It was to turn out to be the same result in the return fight as Sexton proved to be too strong and defend hi title with a 6th round stoppage again in The Odessey.

8 The Return of The Entertainer After a year out Martin came back into the ring. Having lost twice Martin needed to reinvigorate himself . The time was now right to come back to doing what he loved best. After two quick wins in a row vs International fighters Martin had his eyes set on the Irish Heavyweight Title. The Holder was the up and coming Tyson Fury. Fury had been tipping himself for bigger things and this was the perfect match-up for Rogan at the time. The fight was labelled as \"Unfinished Business\" by Promoters. So ion April 2012 Martin challenged Fury for the Irish title. The fight was to be a crossroads fight for \"Rogie.\" After 5 rounds against a much bigger opponent Rogan was finding it tough to get anything with substance landed on the tall, awkward Fury. In the 6th Round the referee decided that Martin had had enough and called the fight to an end declaring Tyson Fury the winner. Again \"Big Rogie\" faced defeat with a smile. The character of the man was something that even in defeat was loved by many fight fans around the world and not only on home soil.

9 Regaining Momentum In many ways Martin had now been getting older and to maintain an interest and the love that has for the game at this stage is something that has to be admired. Martin bounced back and said to himself he was for giving this another bash. If there was anyone who always believed in Martin, it was himself and that is a gifted attribute for any and all competitors regardless what sport they may participate in. Having then scored two more victories over international fighters from Poland and The Czech Republic, Martin had now a rematch with Audley Harrison in the 2013 Prize Fighter competition. Rogan, the 2008 Prize fighter champion was taking on a man he had previously beat, however, he was now 5 yrs older and had suffered a number of defeats. In the fight itself Harrison was able to gain revenge over Martin with a points win After another loss in Germany, Martin Rogan was then matched to fight Michael Sprott in New Zealand however due to medical decisions the fight was called to a close after three rounds by the referee. Martin Rogan was a long way from home. He was on the other side of the world. He had plenty of time to think about his career which was of course not at the height it once was when he had become Prizefighter title holfder and then Commonwealth champion. This was indeed to be the last fight Martin had in that part of his career. Martin Rogan, taxi driver from Clonard Belfast come a name on the lipos of millions of fight fans around Britain and Ireland in the space of five years not only has become a household name in the realms of Ulster boxing history, he has also become synonymous with what Ulster boxing is all about ....... great characters supported by great people.

10 Remaniscing In my chat with Martin I asked him about John Breen, his coach and mentor. Martin simply stated \"John was a great coach who was sometimes to protective. That's also natural as you can imagine you have a bond a don't want your fighter hurt, but all in all it's more than boxing, it's a relationship you develop.\" \"John is the most hard working professional coach. I know even now days he's there 6 days a week his boxing brain his second to none remember john was on his own looking after 6 to 8 boxers at the same time but giving his all to you at training.\" \"John was easy to talk to and he was hard as nails back in his own day. I use to love making John laugh he has the greatest laugh and smile he was my closest friend and boxing coach .... I really couldn't have had the fun and happiness I had in my career without him\" says Martin with a rumble in his emotional voice such was the connection at the time. John Breen said of Martin  \"He didn't put on a glove until he was in his late twenties and he only turned pro four years ago at 33. If that isn't a Rocky story, I don't know what is.\" If you wanted a boxer who was guaranteed to give every once of sweat he had in the ring, a fighter who was proud of himself and his people, a man who was just trying to get something out of a sport he loved, then that man is without any shadow of doubt Martin Rogan. Martin set bums on seat, he filled pubs, he made people smile, he kept opening peoples eyes throughout his boxing journey and he made boxing writers take notice of what was happening when \"The Entertainer\" would enter the foray. Martin Rogan ... Ulster Boxing Legend, Gentleman, Man of The People who fought for his own pride that became Ulsters Pride and Joy. Did Martin make us all proud, did Martin give us all nights out where the craic was \"Ulsterishly Brilliant\" .......... You Better Believe it. Martin Rogan - Entertainment Guaranteed

Like this book? You can publish your book online for free in a few minutes!
Create your own flipbook