Irish boxer who fought hours after mum's death says 'she gave me a little more inspiration'
A boxer closing in on an Irish title has told how his mum - who died just hours before he entered the ring - was the inspiration for an emotional semi-final victory.
Belfast native TJ Waite dedicated his win in honour of his mother who passed away from cancer.
Waite, from the Shankill Road, bravely decided the fight in Dublin on Friday night should go ahead in tribute to his mum Suzie, who lost her battle with illness that same morning.
Waite and Brendan Irvine will now engage in an all-Belfast clash for the flyweight title at the Irish championships this Friday night.
"It wasn't easy going down, but I felt I had to. Mum gave me that little bit more inspiration," said Waite, who defeated Jason McKay of St Paul's on points.
"Two weeks ago, on the day I won the Ulster title, we had been told that mum might only have days to live, so we knew this time was coming.
"It was great to be able to win the Ulster title before she died and I would love to win the Irish title as well.
"Going down to Dublin, I just had to blank everything out. When I got there I had to have Mickey Hawkins from Holy Trinity do my corner, because the Ormeau ABC coach had been diverted around Newry due to the weather and couldn't get there."
Waite recently moved from Cairn Lodge boxing club to the Ormeau Road Boxing Club.
Coach Charlie Toland said: "He had a good first round, then switched off a bit in the second round, and obviously in the circumstances it was understandable that his mind was elsewhere."
Mr Toland added: "He is a credit to himself, his mother and father and to his boxing club."
Other boxers at the fight event praised Waite's courage for boxing despite his personal grief.
The Ormeau Road club offered their condolences to Mrs Waite's husband Tommy and TJ and Becky. The Irish Amateur Boxing Association also extended its sympathy.
Mrs Waite's Funeral Service will take place today at 10am in St Michael's Parish Church, Shankill Road.