Belfast Telegraph

Home News

I'm so upset my fellow boxer Chris was caught up in crash, says Duddy

By Will Ellison

Ulster boxer John Duddy has been taking time out from his training camp in New York State to frantically ring home to find out about the Londonderry casualties of the Thai air disaster.

The Derry boxer was at his training camp in the Poconos Mountains for his October 20 bout with Spaniard Pablo Navascues at The Point, Dublin, when he heard the news of the crash and discovered that one of the young men was a member of the boxing club he had attended in Derry.

He phoned his father to find out what had happened to Christopher Cooley (22) and Aaron Toland (22).

Christopher, who survived the horrific crash, is a member of the same boxing club that Mr Duddy first trained with, ABC boxing club in Brooke Park.

The boxer's father Mickey Duddy said: "When John heard the news he phoned from his training camp to find out what had happened. He wanted to know how they were.

"I had to tell him the sad news about Aaron but touch wood everything goes well for Christopher.

"Like John, Christopher is a member of the ABC gym and he is a fighter.

"John may be over in America flying the flag there but he wouldn't want any of the lads at the club to think he had not remembered them. He wouldn't want to let them down.

"It's important for the lads to know that every member of the club is important.

"The news about Christopher has been more upbeat. He has been sitting up in his bed despite the bad injuries he has, but apparently he could be back in 10 or 12 days.

"I believe it is Christopher's training that has helped him. He was putting in a lot of time at the club before leaving on the trip - he wanted to look good on the beach - so he was healthy.

"Eddie - Christopher's father - and his family were in Dublin for [John's] fight in August."

On that occasion, the Derry boxer stopped Alessio Furlan as he bids to win a European title.

The two Derry men were on their way to Australia on a gap year with a stop over in Thailand for two weeks when they were caught up in the disaster.

Mr Toland's remains are due to arrive back on Friday.

Final funeral arrangements will be announced later.

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph