RIP El Alacran

Eusebio Pedroza, who fought Barry McGuigan on a famous Irish sporting night, dies aged 62

The Panamanian boxing legend reigned for seven years before losing his world title to McGuigan at Loftus Road in 1985.

THE GREAT PANAMANIAN boxing champion Eusebio Pedroza has died a day shy of his 63rd birthday following a battle with cancer.

Pedroza, then the reigning WBA World featherweight champion of seven years and the lineal champion of three, lost a 15-round unanimous decision to Ireland’s Barry McGuigan in 1985 on what remains one of the most famous nights in Irish sporting history.

In victory in front of nearly 27,000 fans at London’s Loftus Road stadium, the home of Queen’s Park Rangers Football Club, McGuigan ended Pedroza’s record-breaking run of 19 straight title defences to become Ireland’s first boxing world champion in 35 years.

Both men are considered to be among the finest champions ever produced by their respective countries, and both have since been inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame.

Barry McGuigan and Eusebio Pedroza Pedroza still holds the featherweight record for the most consecutive defences of his world title. Billy Stickland / INPHO Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

Born in Panama City in 1956, ‘El Alacrán’ made his professional debut at the age of just 17. Less than five years later, he knocked out Spaniard Cecilio Lastra in Panama to become the WBA World featherweight champion, a mantle he would maintain for seven years as he travelled the world defending his belt.

Among 19 successful retentions of his title, Pedroza achieved road wins in Puerto Rico, Papua New Guinea, South Korea, Venezuela twice, Italy twice, and America on four occasions.

The Central American warrior was also considered the lineal featherweight champion of the world between 1982 and 1985 by way of a victory over Juan Laporte, who had replaced the great Salvador Sanchez as holder of the green belt following Sanchez’s death in a car accident in ’82.

Having come unstuck against the ‘Clones Cyclone’ in the English capital, Pedroza mounted several unsuccessful comeback attempts over the following seven years before retiring in 1992 with a record of 41-6-1, 25KOs.

His 19 title defences remain a record for the featherweight division.

Bernard Jackman joins Murray Kinsella and Gavan Casey to discuss the backlash to World Rugby’s league proposal, captaincy styles, sports psychology and more in The42 Rugby Weekly.

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