DUBLINER Steve Collins, the former super middleweight champion of the world, is set to make a triumphant return to Leeside.
This is to mark the 25th anniversary of his world title victories over Chris Eubank on two occasions in 1995.
This event was planned for last year, but the 2020 was thoroughly washed out due to the Covid -19 pandemic.
Now plans are firmly in place to warmly welcome the adopted son of Cork to the southern capital on the weekend of Friday the 19th and Saturday the 20th of November next, where he will engage in a comprehensive program of events.
This will be an excellent opportunity for all sports fans to meet and greet a hero who defied all the odds and created magical memories for thousands of Irish people worldwide.
Steve Collins is no stranger to Leeside and has had a long affinity with Cork boxing down through the years.
Many still recall when he was an amateur, he took on Kieran Joyce in a tournament at the Glen Rovers hurling club in the 1980s.
This was dubbed the battle of Blackpool. Many boxing men in Cork to this day swear they were in the Glen Hall that night.
However, those that were there will never forget the ferocity of that contest as they watched a future world champion take on a local who was later named as Cork Boxer Of the Century.
This two-day program is being organised by Conal Thomas, President of the Cork Boxing Fraternity Association.
Conal said he will be working closely on the plans with Michael O' Brien, Chairman of the recently formed Friends of Cork Boxing group.
This event will include Steve Collins being welcomed to Cork on Friday morning by the Lord Mayor. Here, he will sign the visitors' book as he did over 25 years ago when he won the world title.
From there he will travel to Páirc Uí Chaoimh, the venue where he defeated Eubank for the second time in September 1995.
In the afternoon, he will travel to the Green Glens Arena in Millstreet where he was crowned champion of the World after a titanic struggle with Eubank on the 18th of May of that year.
That night Millstreet was packed to the rafters.
The crowd was utterly fired up amidst an atmosphere that was both electric and historic.
During his visit to Millstreet, Steve will meet many locals from that night.
A West Cork native, the late Con Power, said it was an evening when an Irishman put manners on an Englishman.
Con was referring to the ultimate showman in Eubank as his style outside the ring was often ridiculed as he adopted the persona of a country gentleman.
Eubank even bought for himself the aristocratic title of Lord Brighton.
The followday day, Saturday the 20th of November, a plaque will be unveiled in Bishop Lucey Park to acknowledge the only world boxing title won in Cork and salute Steve Collins as an honorary Cork man.
Conal Thomas will unveil the plaque at 12 noon amid a carnival atmosphere of pipers and brass bands. That afternoon Steve Collins will visit the oldest Boxing club in Ireland, the Glen BC.
He will enter the ring with the only Cork man to ever win a WBO belt , Gary "Spike" O' Sullivan, and the referee for the photoshoot will be the legendary Glen coach Tom Kelleher.
On Saturday night a gala dinner dance will then take place in a city centre hotel. Tickets for this event will be on sale to the public with all details released next week.
At the dinner, highlights of Collins' fight will be shown, and signed souvenir programmes will be available to all patrons, and the event will be complemented through guest speakers.
"This will be a night to savour," said Conal Thomas.
"The Cork business community will have the opportunity to come on board and support this very special event."
Steve Collins was born in Cabra, Dubin, on the 21st of July 1964.
His uncle Jack O'Rourke won three Irish titles in the 1960s, while his father Paschal was also a very accomplished boxer in his day.
In 1986 as an amateur, Steve won an Irish Elite middleweight crown.
However, soon after, he left Ireland to make a living in Boston. Collins later turned professional and joined the Petronelli brothers at their world-famous gym.
He was finally on the road to success. This two-day program will be a great opportunity for all sports fans to roll back the years.
It provides an opportunity to meet a real hero who captured the imagination of Irish men and women.
Steve Collins now comes back to the banks of the Lee, where Cork will roll out the red carpet to honour a legend.