Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 25 December 2014

Boxers ready for mountain bout

Fundraising boxers will hold a charity bout on Ireland's highest mountain
Fundraising boxers will hold a charity bout on Ireland's highest mountain

Fundraising boxers are to hit the steep slopes of the country's highest mountain for a charity bout, organisers revealed.

Several fighters, including the country's first female professional boxer, have been lined up for the uphill battle on the summit of Carrantuohill on Saturday.

Promoters are planning to fly a boxing ring by helicopter near to the 3,414 foot peak to raise awareness of a rare and incurable genetic disorder suffered by a young brother and sister in Co Kerry.

Tony Heffernan, father of Saoirse, five, and Liam, aged two, who suffer from Battens disease, has raised 450,000 euro in five months to potentially pay for pioneering treatment in New York. He said: "I had to find hope last September after I was told Saoirse was diagnosed."

Only four children in Ireland have Battens - which generally hits those aged between two and four and leads to their death within several years.

"For late infantile Battens, which the four children in Ireland have, you are given a child, the child gets a childhood up to the age of four, then that childhood is taken away and then your child is taken away," Mr Heffernan said.

Five boxers will climb Carrantuohill on Saturday morning followed by 40 supporters and 10 guides in separate groups while a helicopter will drop a boxing ring on the summit where it will be assembled.

Mr Heffernan, from Keel, Castlemaine on the Dingle Peninsula, added: "It's all weather dependent but we are very fortunate the forecast is looking good. It's meant to get really good on Saturday so there is someone looking down on us. But it's hard to get this awareness about Battens out there unless you are doing something spectacular.

The fights include Willie "Big Bang" Casey - a would-be European title contender, against up-and-coming star Philip Sutcliffe, and 36-year-old Christina McMahon faces a male opponent when taking on Richard Balfe of Macroom.

Mr Casey said: "I'm delighted to be involved in this gig - it's a great cause so we hope people get behind the event and support the charity. Battens is a terrible disease, I have four kids myself so when I was asked to help out I was delighted to do my bit."

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