Born in Lancaster Street in North Belfast in 1918, Monaghan attended St Patrick’s Christian Brothers’ School in Donegall St.
After a short absence for wartime service, Monaghan resumed his career as a boxer and in 1947, gained the National Boxing Association world crown after outpointing the American, Dado Marino at Harringay Stadium for the vacant title.
He then defeated Scottish boxer Jackie Paterson by knock-out in the King’s Hall on 23 March 1948 to retain his title. He defended his title again in 1949 fighting Frenchman Maurice Sandeyron.
Monaghan retired in 1950; his trophy-cabinet contained the British, European, Commonwealth and World crowns. Of the 66 official bouts he fought during his successful career, he lost only nine and drew six. Monaghan endeared himself to his supporters after his fights by singing When Irish Eyes are Smiling that frequently joined in the singing.
Monaghan died at his home in Little Corporation St on 3 March 1984 and is buried in Belfast City Cemetery.
The statue to Monaghan at Cathedral Gardens features Monaghan holding a microphone and singing “When Irish Eyes are Smiling”.
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