A hero’s welcome home is planned for the newly crowned WBC international super lightweight champion Pierce O’Leary.
The 22-year-old from Sheriff Street ended Emmanuel Mungandjela’s eight-year unbeaten run to collect the title at The O2 in London last Saturday night.
The father-of-one, who fulfilled a life-long dream since he started boxing at the age of seven, is to be feted on Sunday at the Harbourmaster in the Irish Financial Services Centre from 4pm to 9pm.
His proud aunt Emma Carabini said: "The entire family is so proud of what he’s achieved, his dad John, mum Melissa and his sister Sadhbh, and he deserves all of the country to know what he has succeeded in."
Speaking immediately after his win, O’Leary said: "It feels amazing, but being honest it doesn’t feel real. I’m happy and I’m going to sit back and enjoy this. I’ll rest for Christmas and I’ll get back at [boxing] in February or March."
Ms O’Leary revealed: "From the age of seven he started boxing at the Dublin Docklands Boxing Club. He fibbed about his age to [manager] Philip Keogh as they would only take children eight and over, but he knew this is the sport he wanted to be part of. He owes Philip so much but he’s never forgotten that.
"He gave up so much of going out with friends after school and at weekends so he could train. Pierce even would get up at 4am even when he was still in Secondary School and run along the docks to maintain his fitness for boxing."
Before deciding to turn professional at the age of 19, O’Leary won nine Leinster and nine All-Ireland boxing titles. He now is managed by renowned boxing coach Frank Warren and Queensberry Promotions.
"Pierce is quiet and he doesn't want any fuss but which huge win deserves to be marked. His partner Amy Burke and two-year-old daughter Eiffie have stayed in Dublin while he continues to train in London.
"But the minute he arrived back he also went to the Docklands Boxing Club to encourage the kids there to keep following their dreams. He hasn’t forgotten his roots and never will," said Emma.
She revealed that Pierce had a list on the back of his bedroom door since he was 7 years old of all the goals he wanted to achieve, "and last Saturday he ticked off the final one by winning that world title. It is the icing on the cake for him and for all of us.
"Pierce is known as Clark Kent by his boxing buddies from Superman as he wears glasses when he’s not fighting but he’s become our true Superman now.
"That’s why we want to throw him a huge party, not only for our family, but for the entire area and all of the children he has and is continuing to help follow their dreams," Emma said.