THE City of Cork and the sport of boxing was magnificently represented by a four-man delegation who did Leeside proud in San Francisco last week.
The occasion was the annual “big fight night” hosted by the world renowned Olympic Club Foundation, under the direction of John J. Ring, the Irish American CEO of this much admired and widely acclaimed organization.
The Cork Travelling Party included Cathal Crowley, Derek Murray, Tom Kelleher, and Tom Murray.
This was the second occasion Cork Boxing was a participant in such a prestigious sporting event.
In 2019 our Representative Team that year impressed the organizers and they had no difficulty in extending a further invitation for last week Gala sold-out Dinner-Boxing Show.
Following the very successful Cork Boxing Memorabilia Exhibition at the City Library in 2018, and the setting up of the International Friends of Cork Boxing Organization, many new contacts were established through networking with the Irish Diaspora abroad.
In the case of the Olympic Club in San Francisco, it helped greatly as Cork was twinned with the Golden Gate Bridge City, and this created the link for Cork City Council to team up with the Cork Boxing Group, as they endeavored to represent the City as sporting ambassadors.
The original work began in July 2019 prior to the departure of the first group.
It entailed many weekly zoom meetings which took place in City Hall.
Michael O’Brien represented the Cork Boxing interest, and Director of Corporate and International Affairs Paul Moynihan represented Cork City Council.
The meeting took place at 5pm Cork time- which was 9am in the morning in San Francisco.
The Organizing Committee in San Francisco left no stone unturned and provided super accommodation for their Irish guests on each occasion. Those involved in the zoom meetings on the American side were John Ring, Anne Crangle, Jim Herlihy, Gary Sulenger, Stephen Wynne, Brian Doyle and Mark Farrell.
Similar to the first trip three years ago, last week’s show was top class.
The Cork Boxers on the Bill, Cathal Crowley and Derek Murray, acquitted themselves with distinction and fully enjoyed their sporting experience. The two coaches Tom Murray and Tom Kelleher are among the most experienced in the Country and each of them have given a lifetime of service to the sport.
One of the many highlights of the trip was meeting the Legend and Former World Champion Sugar Ray Leonard.
Prior to their departure the Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr Deidre Forde extended her best wishes to the group, and sent a good will letter to the Mayor of San Francisco London Breed.
Paul Moynihan and his staff were ever present in the organizing of the event, and provided Corporate gifts which carried the Insignia of the City for members of the San Francisco Sister City Committee.
O’Brien paid tribute to the Cork Boxing Party, whom he described as outstanding ambassadors for the sport, and thanked John Ring in San Francisco whom along with his very efficient Committee were superb hosts.
In his wide ranging report on the trip, O’Brien concluded by thanking Cork City Council and in particular the Director Paul Moynihan for his total commitment and great attention to detail.
Meanwhile, on Saturday next 24TH September at 12 noon in Bishop Lucey Park, a plaque will be unveiled to honor and acknowledge the outstanding boxing careers of many members of the Buckley Family.
The plaque will be unveiled by Joe Buckley, son of Paddy Buckley the man who was renowned for often cycling in from Mallow to train with the Glen boxers at their Club in Spring Lane in Blackpool.
The Lord Mayor will attend, as will the Piper Norman O’Rourke.
The Taoiseach Michael Martin is aware of the event but in a phone call to the PRO, said he would like to be there as his father Paddy Martin was great friends with the Buckleys, but his schedule at the weekend cannot be facilitate his attendance.
Following events in Bishop Lucey Park a reception has been organized for 1pm at the Glen Boxing Club.
Elsewhere, following the death of Queen Elizabeth, Cork’s boxing personality of the year 2022 Frank O’Sullivan received a lot of coverage on the sports pages of English tabloid newspapers this week.
Frank was born and reared around the bottom of Shandon St, as a youth he boxed with Sunnyside before emigrating to Birmingham for work in the fifties, Frank went on to set up the Birmingham ABC and coached many world and Olympic boxing champions.
In 2012 he became the first Cork Man to be honored with the MBE from the Queen for distinguished service in the development of amateur boxing.
On Saturday last, Conal Thomas, President of the Cork Boxing Fraternity Association was a guest of the Donegal County Boxing Board, they were marking the 50th anniversary of iconic boxer Charlie Nash representing Ireland at the Olympics.
Four years ago in 2018 Cork honored Mick Dowling 50th anniversary as an Olympian.
It is now nice to see many Counties replicating many of the promotional ideas which have been taking place on Leeside for the last ten years. During the course of the evening Cork Boxing it’s members and Clubs were warmly acknowledged in speeches by Peter O’Donnell, Eugene Duffy and Eugene O’Kane.