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Wednesday 20 September 2017

I broke my mother's heart with my drinking, says Olympic boxing hero

Kenny Egan
with his
mother
Maura just
after he won
silver in
2008. Photo: Martin Nolan
Kenny Egan with his mother Maura just after he won silver in 2008. Photo: Martin Nolan

Nick Bramhill

BOXER Kenneth Egan has told how his life spiralled out of control after he won a silver medal at the Olympics as he became addicted to alcohol.

Egan has admitted he spent the two years following his heroic performance in Beijing in August 2008 on marathon drinking sessions, some of which would last for up to two weeks, before he staggered back home.

In a brutally honest interview the Dubliner, who's now based in Miami, said he has been sober for the past 25 weeks, but still attends regular AA meetings to help him cope with his addiction.

He also credited his mother Maura with helping him turn his life around, after she broke down in tears at the graves of two of her other sons who died in early childhood and warned him she'd be be burying a third child unless he faced up to his demons.

He said he hasn't taken a drink since that day and is now completely focused on more Olympic glory at the London Games next year. But he cautiously admits he's taking it "one day at a time".

Back in Dublin to defend his national senior light-heavyweight title, which he has held for the past 10 years, he gave his frankest interview to date to TV presenter Brendan O'Connor on RTE One's 'The Saturday Night Show'.

Nightmares

"I was in a bad place. I was drinking too much. Ever since I got back from the games I just went mad on it and didn't stop," he said.

"They would go on for a week, two weeks. I'd go mad. I'd start with my mates and then the next day I'd go with someone else and then the last day of the week I'd be sitting with an old man in a corner, giving him high fives, having the craic. At the end of it I'd say: 'What am I at here?' I'd go home then, get into bed, feel all sorry for myself, sweat, nightmares, the whole lot. I broke my mother's heart."

Maura Egan, who was part of the studio audience, said things had got so bad she no longer recognised her son when his drinking was at its worst.

"There are two Kenneths. There was the nice Kenneth when he wasn't drinking and there was the different Kenneth when he was drinking. But we had to do something to stop it and get him out of that."

Irish Independent

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