Gloves are on!



FIGHTING nerves and each other, 40 boxers made Friday one of the most memorable occasions in the year for Listowel in a massive charity amateur boxing night that drew up to 800 people to the community centre.

All that was missing was the figure of Don King as the centre was transformed into a Las Vegas-style arena amid a braying throng and an atmosphere cranked up to 90.

Organised by the Kerry Crusaders, Rumble in Listowel II - following a similar massive event late in 2010 - was an unqualified success, raising thousands for charities in the region working with children with special needs.

For the boxers, however, it started on a much-less certain note. "I was buzzing so much with nerves and adrenaline that the night is like a blur and I'm just looking forward to seeing the video now," fighter Mary Toomey told The Kerryman.

"It was unbelieveable. There was up to 800 there and we all got an individual entrance. One of the few entrances apart from my own I remember was Noel Hilliard's, when he came in on a surf board - it was hilarious!"

Meanwhile it was given added Vegas bling with the figure of MC Mark ' Emerald Elvis' Leen.

Mary faced down Michelle Mulvihill in the ring and each proved the other's equal, finishing on a draw. "Once you get into the ring a screen comes down on you and you go hell for leather, but at the same time I was thinking 'should I hold back as it is just for charity?'," Mary laughed.

All the boxers were trained hard by local club Trojans over the last few weeks - which made all the difference.

"My nose is only coming around now though!" boxer Keith Browne laughed. "It was amazing and I'm delighted I did it but the nerves were something else. Some lads were fine with it, but my stomach was in knots all day!

"It was a brilliant experience, but I don't think I was as nervous at anything in my entire life," Keith said.

He can't have been that nervous, however, as he won his match. "It was three rounds per fight, a minute and a half each, but that minute and a half felt like eternity!"

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