Former World Champion boxer Barry McGuigan wowed the audience at the Impartial Reporter Celebration of Sport as the down to earth Clones man proved a knockout for all the nominees and their families. 
Indeed, Barry was amazed by the strength in depth and the quality of achievement of all the nominees, especially in the youth age categories and he a had a very direct message for the young sports stars of Fermanagh. 
Barry told Graham Little during his on stage interview: “It is great to be here and looking at all of the young nominees, I have to say my God, what talent, what talent this place has. I go back to Gordon Ferris and all the great athletes Enniskillen produced in the 60s and 70s. These young kids are amazing and the achievements that they are having and making and continue to make, Irish records, Ulster records, I don’t know these kids but I know their relations. Fermanagh has always been a bedrock of sporting success.” 
He added: “ My message to them is keep trying to get better, keep trying to get better at everything you can do and when you are young guy or girl don’t stop your studies, keep that up keep learning vocabulary and the ability to communicate with people is crucial. Keep training, pack as much as you can into you life. Never stop and never stop believing that you can be successful. When you are knocked down get back up and do it again and again. Keep making friends, be a decent guy and always see the good in people. That is really important.” 
Barry revealed that Enniskillen and Fermanagh has been a big part of his life. 
“I’m a Border rat, I used to go across to Fermanagh a lot. I started off boxing in Wattlebridge. Fermanagh has been a big big part of my life, before me my dad was very close to musician Cecil Kettyles. We had tremendous connections with the North and particularly Enniskillen so this is my second home really and there is more to it. 
“Enniskillen has been like a moral compass for me on how people should get on and behave and respect each other. Both sides of the community in the worst times of the troubles were able to form tremendous friendships, you don’t have to say anything you just see it you are enmeshed in it. You just understand what it means and how important to have respect and understanding, Enniskillen is a fabulous place and I love it.”  
Barry also gave a big insight into the biggest night of his career when he defeated Eusebio Pedroza to win the world title watched by 20 million viewers on television. 
“We were in the worst times of the troubles and to be able to bring people together and win is the abiding memory. That created momentum in itself and when you ask what was the best time, it was walking out to the fight at Loftus Road The atmosphere was just fizzing and the noise was deafening. I will never forget the American TV came over, and they said it will take you 30-40 seconds to walk to the ring and get in. We said that won’t happen, you don’t understand Barry McGuigan fights and they said it will, it will be fine. So we came out of the dugouts and the fans crowded in, paid no heed to the police and it took us 12 minutes to get to the ring. I remember that, I remember the pace of the fight, I knew that I could not out box him, I had to put pressure on him, I had to put pressure on him and hope that he would mistakes. 
“I was doing well in the first couple of rounds, but he was hitting me with good shots but I knew I had to take a gamble. He hit me with so many punches in the fourth round I thought I was surrounded but I got in and dropped him in the seventh and that was the beginning of me getting the psychological edge and the physiological edge and it went the full 15 rounds. I ground him down and got the win. It was voted fight of the year and the celebrations after, coning home to Belfast and down to Dublin were extraordinary. I will never forget that, I remember going down O’Connell Street and there was about 250,000, I remember thinking is this for me, is it really happening? Has it meant that much to the fans and that was the moment when you think, wow I have really done something here.That’s what sport did for me, being able to bring people together and that night was the pinnacle,” enthused Barry. 
Barry concluded by praising the charity link up between the Impartial Reporter and the Aisling Centre to highlight the importance of sport and mental well being. Barry, who lost his brother to suicide in 1994, revealed that mental health issues in sport is becoming a “bigger and bigger problem” and revealed that he and his wife Sandra do a lot of work in England to help with the issue.