Cork boxing pays a fitting tribute to Frank O'Sullivan, who has dedicated his life to the sport

In 1956, Frank set up the Birmingham ABC. This club is now in its 65th year in existence and Frank O'Sullivan as head coach has earned one of the most respected reputations in the boxing world.
Cork boxing pays a fitting tribute to Frank O'Sullivan, who has dedicated his life to the sport

Frank O'Sullivan receives honorary membership of the Cork Ex-Boxers Association from the late Tim O'Sullivan, and Mike O'Brien, president Cork County Boxing Board  in 2016.

TEN years ago in 2011, Queen Elizabeth the second was welcomed to City Hall on her first official visit to Leeside.

She was entertained in the magnificent Concert Hall, known to many as the ancestral home of Cork boxing, as this venue hosted many international boxing events.

Five months later in the same year, the Queen, through her staff, dispatched a letter to Frank O'Sullivan, a man who had boxed with the Sunnyside BC.

Frank was born and reared in North Abbey Street which is located at the bottom of Shandon Street which to many is Cork's boxing boulevard.

Today, the name of Frank O'Sullivan is revered throughout the world of amateur boxing. 

His outstanding work in promoting the sport in Birmingham, where he is married and domiciled for many years, was brought to the attention of Queen Elizabeth.

He was subsequently honoured by the Queen in 2012. 

This week boxing authorities have bestowed the honour of naming him the Cork Boxing Personality of the Year.

The announcement was made by the President of the Board, Michael O'Brien who said: "In a year which has seen no boxing activity in Cork due to Covid local nominees were not considered.

"Therefore, this provided the perfect opportunity to reflect on Cork's boxing men beyond our shores and here Frank O'Sullivan's credentials as a boxing ambassador and proud son of Leeside were impeccable. "

Conal Thomas, the President of the Cork Boxing Fraternity Association, said: "Frank has enjoyed a remarkable career in boxing. He is a legend in England and widely acclaimed elsewhere."

Paddy McSweeney, the President to the Cork Ex Boxers Association (CEBA), said: "Five years ago, Frank received honorary membership of CEBA and he is now about to receive the ultimate accolade of Cork Boxing Personality of the year."

This award is long overdue and richly deserved. 

As a young boy Frank O'Sullivan played around the streets and laneways surrounding the river Lee.

His home was situated in a densely populated area. 

On the other side of the Northgate bridge was an area known as the marsh.

Here, young O'Sullivan had many friends and relations. 

This was the hinterland of Corkonian humanity where neighbour depended on neighbour.

Here, by today's standards, many people live in squalor. 

They had no flashy cars and people relied to transport their goods on a quickly assembled vehicle know as a box car while the youngest delighted on owning a steering car.

This was a flat plank of wood supported underneath by two axles and four iron wheels. 

These were the days of hunger and desperation where employment prospects were bleak, and for many young men the only solution was to take the boat to England.

Frank had an interest in all sports and while at school in the local Blarney Street CBS he was introduced to boxing and encouraged to john the Sunnyside BC.

Frank quickly became a champion and won titles at provincial and national levels. 

However, when he came to 18 years of age he needed to work and had no chance as the local economy was in a deep recession.

Sadly, he emigrated to Birmingham where he did find work but also maintained his boxing career. 

Following some outstanding victories in the amateur ranks Frank was invited to turn pro.

But in his second pro fight, he sustained a severe eye injury. 

This forced his mandatory retirement from the sport on medical grounds.

In 1956, Frank set up the Birmingham ABC. 

This club is now in its 65th year in existence and Frank O'Sullivan as head coach has earned one of the most respected reputations in the boxing world.

This was acknowledged by the Queen in 2012 when she honoured Frank with an MBE Award. 

To his friends this status was immediately elevated and he affectionately became known as Sir Frank.

In his 84th year, Frank still coaches the famous gym and regularly returns to Leeside and brought a team for the Ballinlough tournament and the Glen BC Centenary tournament in 2016.

During an illustrious career, Frank has trained some of the world's greats. 

These include Frank Bruno, Amir Khan, Nicola Adams and James Degale. Frank also trained the Yafai brothers with Khalid Yafai going on to become another world champion under Frank's guidance.

Top trainer Robert McCracken was also a member of Frank's Birmingham gym.

 Frank has also played an influential part in preparing Team GBs Olympic team.

In this the Olympic year, Frank will be honoured amongst his own on his beloved home soil as the Cork Boxing Personality of the Year.

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