There is a scene in the 1996 movie The Great White Hype where Peter Berg’s character is introduced as “the number eight ranked contender ... ‘Irish’ Terry Conklin”.
“But I’m not Irish,” protests Conklin, to be swiftly informed: “It’s boxing. It just means you’re white.”
Darragh Foley, as his name suggests, needs no such scheming.
The Perth-based Dubliner, who challenges John Ford for the WA light-welterweight belt at Metro City tonight, is one of a growing number of Irish fighters on the Australian scene.
Leading the way are Dennis Hogan and Paddy Murphy, who both draw large ex-pat crowds in Brisbane and beyond.
Indeed, spectators at Hogan’s middleweight bout against Robbie Bryant in Perth last December might have wondered whether it really was an Australian title fight. The Kildare man’s ring entrance resembled a mini St Patrick’s Day parade while the Irish national anthem was played along with Advance Australia Fair.
“Boxing is one of the main sports in Ireland, everyone’s boxed, but with the economy struggling there just isn’t the same opportunities to turn professional unless you’re a massive ticket seller or you’ve been the Olympics,” Foley said.
“Hogan’s doing brilliant. The time he came over to defend his title in Perth he sold $28,000 worth of tickets. That’s coming from a different State. You can only imagine what he’s doing in Brisbane.
“I welcome all support but at the same time I don’t want to be the token Irish guy coming out with the bagpipes and a couple of Irish dancers or whatever. I’m good enough to go on my own talent.
“They keep telling me your name is Darragh “Irish” Foley, and I say no, that’s not my name, I’ve been Darragh “Super” Foley since my childhood days. I don’t want any of those cheap gimmicks.”
Foley trains at Angelo Hyder’s gym in Wangara and will be the “house” fighter on the Dragon Fire card. But he knows not to underestimate Ford.
“I won’t make the same mistake (Brandon) Ogilvie did and walk towards him with his hands down, giving him absolutely no respect and thinking I’ll knock him straight out,” Foley said.
“You can’t do that with any fighter and he found out the hard way that’s not how the game works. It’s only one punch – anyone can get knocked out.
"Ford’s a good fighter, I’ve sparred him in the gym, probably 50 rounds with him, so I know what he’s about. He’s a tough fighter. But I’m tough, I’m tougher than he is, I’m stronger than he is, and I’m looking forward to proving it.
"I always had my eye on the winner from the Ford-Ogilvie fight because it’s at the same weight and it’s for the State title.
"After my last fight I broke my thumb and needed surgery on it. They said they’d get me a nice little four rounder to get back into it but I said no. I don’t want any more of these four rounders against these journeymen, they do nothing for you. I don’t want to be one of these guys 15-0 and you delve a little deeper and you say, 'hang on a minute this guy’s got a losing record, this guy’s been stopped 15 times, this guy’s been stopped 20 times'.
"It doesn’t achieve anything, you're just kidding yourself.
"That's why I see this as a pivotal fight, if I lose this then I’m not going anywhere, there’s no point fooling myself."
Ogilvie is also in action, fresh from his return win in China last month, as are fellow West Aussies Shane Carroll, Sam Hogan, Vinnie Caruana and punching plumber Wes Capper.
Middleweight Luke Sharp tops tonight's bill against Wade Ryan, while Ricky Hatton-backed Olympian Damien Hooper fights a six-rounder against fellow Queensland light-heavy Josh Webb.