Friday 23 August 2019

Rising star: Inspirational athlete touted for Olympics was to become a father in five weeks

Class: Boxer Kevin Sheehy had planned to turn professional. Photo: Sportsfile
Class: Boxer Kevin Sheehy had planned to turn professional. Photo: Sportsfile

Aine Kenny and David Raleigh

Young boxer Kevin Sheehy, who had been tipped as a future Olympian, wanted to succeed in his sport not only for himself but for his family and his unborn baby girl.

The 20-year-old Irish champion was excited to welcome his first baby into the world in just five weeks' time.

Tragically, his fiancée Emma was yesterday being comforted by family and friends after Mr Sheehy lost his life in a hit and run that gardaí believe may have been deliberate.

Mr Sheehy's life in and out of the ring was on the up, according to his coach Ken Moore. Not only had he amassed a string of titles - five times Ireland champion, current under-22 champion - but his personal life was in a good place as he and Emma prepared for their baby's arrival.

Childhood sweethearts, having started dating at the age of 15, they were devoted to each other.

"Boxing was his life and his life was changing because in five weeks' time he was due to have a baby girl," said Moore.

Mr Sheehy was a member of St Francis' Boxing Club in Limerick, the club of former WBO middleweight champion Andy Lee. Mr Sheehy was noted for his dedication and touted as a possible future member of the Olympics boxing team.

Ultimately he hoped to make the jump from the amateur ranks to become a professional. And, according to Mr Moore, he had the talent to achieve this goal.

The coach described how Mr Sheehy grew up on a "rough" estate, "but he stepped away from all that".

While some other youngsters were getting involved in crime, Mr Sheehy was focused on his sport. But he realised how it all could have gone so different, and said he was lucky to have avoided such trouble.

Instead, Mr Sheehy wanted to give back to his community. In May he visited his old school, CBS Primary School, to meet the pupils and give them a demonstration of his skills, winning a new generation of young fans.

Speaking to recently, he told how, despite being just 20, he had his sights on winning the Irish Elite Senior Championships and his confidence was growing.

"I'm getting stronger, my strength and conditioning is always getting better. I feel fitter and faster this year.

"I just love boxing, I just love doing it. I love challenging myself in these championships."

Irish Independent

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