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Tribute planned for boxer John Duddy's uncle, a victim of the Bloody Sunday attack

June 16, 2010 |  2:23 pm

Boxing promotional company Top Rank announced Wednesday that it will conduct a 10-count June 26 before middleweight John Duddy of Ireland fights Mexico's Julio Cesar Chavez in San Antonio's Alamodome.

Duddy's uncle, Michael, known within the family as Jackie Duddy, was among the 14 people killed by British paratroopers in the 1972 Bloody Sunday attack on protesters in Londonderry, Northern Ireland. An in-depth, years-long British inquiry ended Tuesday with a conclusion that the protesters posed no threat and that the killings were unjustified.

"It's the right thing to do," Top Rank promoter Bob Arum said of the 10 bangs of the ringside bell, usually intended for those in boxing or well-known public figures who've recently died. "This has been such a heartbreaking ordeal for John and the Irish people."

Harrowing photos of the bloodied body of Duddy's uncle being carried by frightened individuals, with a priest nearby, emerged from Bloody Sunday. Witnesses said Jack Duddy was killed by a single bullet to the chest and was shot while unarmed and not engaging with the soldiers.

"His name was John, but everyone called him Jackie," Duddy, currently training in New York, told IrishCentral.com. "I was named John Francis after him. He was a boxer too. Jackie was 17, and he was my father's idol growing up. My father was 12 when he was killed. Uncle Jack is one of the main reasons I became a boxer.

"'Bloody Sunday was something that was never spoken about while I was growing up. It's great to see justice."

The tragedy inspired the anthem "Sunday Bloody Sunday" by U2, and triggered a Tuesday apology by British Prime Minister David Cameron, who labeled the attack "unjustified."

-- Lance Pugmire

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