posted on Mar, 4 2004 @ 08:33 PM
Associated Press - March 4, 2004
BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) - Belfast welterweight Eamonn Magee said his career was over Thursday after a club-wielding gang smashed his leg and
punctured a lung.
Magee, 32, refused to discuss the motive for the attack during an interview with BBC Northern Ireland at his Royal Victoria Hospital bed, where he was
recovering from Sunday's attack. He also has refused to cooperate with police investigators.
``I've been told by two specialists that my career's over,'' said Magee, who last year won the lightly regarded World Boxing Union welterweight title.
He had been training for a fight with former WBA champion Sharmba Mitchell next month.
``I feel so sorry for him and I just can't take it in,'' said Magee's longtime coach, John Breen. ``It's hard to believe that he was being set up for
some big fights, and now they'll never happen for him.''
Magee said he feared he was going to be killed when the gang pulled him from a car in Catholic west Belfast and clubbed him repeatedly.
``It was one of the most frightening experiences of my life - it wasn't a pretty sight,'' Magee said.
After the BBC interview, Magee underwent surgery to have muscle taken from his right leg and grafted onto his fractured left leg, which lost a
substantial amount of tissue. Magee said doctors had advised against placing him under general anesthetic because the attack has left him with a
potentially deadly blood clot on his lung.
Belfast's west side is a power base for the outlawed Irish Republican Army, which for the past three decades has broken the limbs of its opponents in
so-called ``punishment'' attacks. Northern Ireland's police chief said Wednesday that the IRA had committed about 50 such attacks in the past year.