One Night in Millstreet review – vivid look back to mighty Collins-Eubank rumble | Film

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Here is a boxing documentary that is a cut above the usual back-slapping nostalgia – largely down to the canny, vivid presences of its two central figures, Steve Collins and Chris Eubank. Collins, of course, was the Irish fighter who psyched out a hitherto-dominant Eubank in their super-middleweight world title fight in 1995 to pull off a major shock – though possibly less of a shock than it might have been made out, as Collins was already a world title holder at middleweight.

Both Collins and Eubank come across well: intelligent, honest and able to comment with the benefit of perspective on what they brought to the encounter. Eubank, particularly, has retained his dignity in defeat – even if the archive shots of him preparing for the ring walk astride an idling motorbike as Tina Turner’s The Best blares over the PA look genuinely absurd.

Still, Collins enlarges on his efforts to successfully wrongfoot and unsettle the supremely confident Eubank; these include an unpleasant press conference encounter in which Collins attempts to ramp up the hostility by telling Eubank he is “African”. Collins was no doubt trying to annoy his dandified, monocle-sporting opponent by suggesting he was a lickspittle of the English, but the outburst was naive at best. (And given that Eubank was raised in tough circumstances in various parts of London and New York, suggestions he was some kind of la-di-da foreigner were well wide of the mark.)

The film has more fun with the venue that gives it its title: the Green Glens Arena in Millstreet, County Cork, an isolated rural outpost until it hosted the Eurovision song contest in 1993. Venue operator Noel C Duggan is presented, hilariously, as a backwoods chancer who bamboozled hard-nosed boxing insiders such as Barry Hearn into staging the fight. But presumably he couldn’t have been that much of a chancer, as everything went off well, even if at one point Duggan is seen worriedly inquiring into the availability of air ambulances if one of the fighters gets hurt. Somewhat weirder though is the presence of Tony Quinn, who Collins contends gave him mental strength techniques that enabled him to overcome Eubank. Presented here as a flamboyant eccentric, the film doesn’t enlarge on Quinn’s other activities, which are interesting, to say the least. All in all, it’s an interesting story, well told – for the most part.

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One Night in Millstreet is in UK and Irish cinemas from 5 April.


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