John Joseph “Rinty” Monaghan

John Joseph “Rinty” Monaghan

Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Death 3 Mar 1984 (aged 65)
Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Burial Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland
Memorial ID 95248048 · View Source
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Rinty' Monaghan became the world flyweight boxing champion at the Kings Hall, Belfast in 1948 and retired undefeated in 1950.

John Joseph Monaghan was born on 21 August 1918 at 23 Lancaster Street, Belfast and, after marrying Frances Thompson in 1938, he moved to Little Corporation Street, in the Docklands area of the city. There he raised his three daughters, Martha, Rosetta and Colette and son, Sean, and lived for the rest of his life.

His nickname "Rinty" came from his fondness for dogs. He brought home injured dogs so often that his grandmother called him Rin Tin Tin, after the film dog, and shortened it to Rinty.

His early career was highly successful and he did not suffer a defeat until he was knocked out by Glaswegian Jackie Patterson during his twenty-fifth professional fight in 1938.

The defeat was only a temporary setback but Monaghan's career was interrupted by wartime service in the Navy which chose not to exploit his fighting instincts but sent him instead to such places as Norway, Gibraltar and, in 1944, forty-eight hours after D-Day, to Normandy where he entertained the troops as a song and dance man. He managed to fit in a small number of fights during the wartime years but in November 1945, out of uniform and back in full training, Monaghan knocked out Eddie ‘Bunty' Doran to win the Ulster flyweight title.

His target now became the world title and in 1947 he beat Londoner, Terry Allen, the fight being stopped in the first round. Later that year he lost then won against Dado Marino, securing the NBA flyweight title.

In March 1948, there followed the highpoint of his career when he knocked out his old adversary, Patterson, in the seventh round of a fight at the Kings Hall to become the undisputed British, Commonwealth and World flyweight champion, reputedly the first Northern Ireland boxer ever to hold a world title. Monaghan later claimed that the clinching factor in his pre-fight preparations had been a diet of goat's milk and raw eggs.

As Patterson was carried from the ring, it was besieged by thousands of jubilant supporters and Monaghan later said he had to fight again that night, this time to reach his home through the milling crowds in York and Corporation Streets where celebratory bonfires had been lit.

In April 1949 he retained his world championship and won the European fly weight title when he defeated Frenchman, Maurice Sandeyron, in Belfast and the following September, although he could only draw with Terry Allen in Belfast, he held on to his titles.

Ill health forced him to retire at aged 32,he was forced to renounce his titles and retire undefeated. Of the sixty-six officially recorded contests, he won fifty-one, drew six others and was beaten only nine times.

For the rest of his days, Monaghan was philosophical about his lot and said he had no complaints. He remained a much loved and highly popular figure and, as he went about his various jobs, people throughout Belfast invariably recognised the battered little man with his twinkling eyes and permanent smile.

His sense of humour did not desert him in 1976 when a local radio station wrongly broadcast news of his death. ‘I'm not floored yet,' he chuckled when he phoned to correct the report.

He died on 3 March 1984, aged 65. He is buried in the Belfast City Cemetery beneath a headstone with the inscription ‘Undefeated World Flyweight Champion' etched between the images of two boxing gloves.


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  • Created by: Too
  • Added: 12 Aug 2012
  • Find A Grave Memorial 95248048
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for John Joseph “Rinty” Monaghan (21 Aug 1918–3 Mar 1984), Find A Grave Memorial no. 95248048, citing Belfast City Cemetery, Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland ; Maintained by Too (contributor 46637864) .