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A brave man, who battled back from brain trauma to start career outside the ropes.

Kieran Farrell – onwards & upwards

(With Dermot Bolger)

When Kieran Farrell turned professional at the age of 18, he did so full of ambition after a fine amateur schooling that saw him represent his country and mix it with some of the best amateurs around. With an Irish Grandfather, his targets included Irish titles as he progressed through the pro ranks. Initially trained by Bobby Rimmer, he linked up with John Breen to win the Central Area Lightweight title in June 2012.

Six months later, he was matched with Anthony Crolla for the vacant English Lightweight title in what was a Manchester derby. The fight was a small hall classic and a contender for fight of the year. After 4 rounds the scorecards were level and the noisy crowd were engrossed in the action. When the bell sounded to call a halt to the 10th and final round, both men were hoisted aloft by their respective corners. Minutes later, Crolla was announced the winner, Farrell slumped on his stool and began his second fight of the night – the fight for his life.

Kieran had suffered an acute subdural hematoma, commonly known as bleeding on the brain. The diagnosis was not looking good, but under the care of some top neurosurgeons, a loving family and incredible will power, Kieran battled back against all the odds. His recovery has been hailed as nothing short of remarkable and truly inspirational. He has got his boxing career back on track too – outside the ropes, with a start-up gym for all ages in his local community, The Peoples Gym.

Irish-Boxing.Com caught up with him for an update.

1) How has the transition from boxer to trainer / gym manager been for you?

Very difficult being so young and not being able to box again but times been a big healer for me, I had my own personal troubles I had to deal with on top of losing my boxing career but justice prevailed and I’m loving life at the minute.

2) Are you a tough task master outside the ropes!

Certainly am, I push my boxers hard and give them not only my knowledge but knowledge I’ve learnt from the great trainer himself John Breen – also Ricky Hatton & Bobby Rimmer to name a few who I’ve learnt from as well!

3) The Peoples Gym is as the name suggests, all inclusive for the community, you must be pleased with how it’s all progressing?

Definitely it was an idea at first and I didn’t look to far into it bar look at being able to make myself a wage, I’m doing really well, I’m not making mega money but I’m making a comfortable living providing for my family, fiancée & daughter and more self- satisfied on a daily basis probably because it’s knowing I can get some chocolate biscuits if I fancy em!

4) How has the support been from the Boxing community? Boxing is really on the up again in the Manchester area.

The support is second to none and helped me a lot on my road to recovery, boxing in Manchester certainly is back on the up and it’s an on-going chain, we’ve got plenty of talented kids who will be big names in the future considering they stay on the right road and it falls good for em.

5) Your recovery is inspiring for all people who have suffered brain trauma injuries; you feel strongly that general fitness plays a big part in the recovery process?

Definitely if I didn’t have the fitness I did I wouldn’t have recovered half as good as I did, I did think I was ok to box again so I think belief that your ok is another psychological thing to help you recover.

6) On those dark early days of the recovery process you must have shown a lot of mental strength to get through the challenges?

Definitely I’ve had some very dark days and I’ve got dark days to come in the future it’s something that will never leave me because it’s all I’ve done from a little boy but as I said earlier belief got me through it.

7) You have strong views on the pressures of making weight that boxers have to go through, is this an area you feel Boxing needs to more in?

To be fair to the boxing boards they’re doing all they can to keep boxing safe, it’s a dangerous sport maybe the boards could be a little stricter with regards to check weigh ins etc.

8) Though your boxing career was cut short, you can still look back on it with pride – a good amateur record and a Central Area title.

Yes I represented my country winning a national title which was my world title as an amateur, turning pro aged 18 and engaging in 15 professional fights winning 14 of them and being tightly edged out on my last fight. I’m proud of what I achieved in a short career.

9) The Crolla fight was really close. He is now world rated and unlucky not to be a world champion. Does it hit home how cruel your injury was when you could be up at that level?

Definitely not Dermot, I believed I was destined for the top, no doubt in my mind I would have been world champion, my injury could have been a lot a lot worse – look at Gerald McLennan and Michael Watson or even more look at the boxer on the Goodwin promotions show not so long after my injury, forgot his name but he lost his life in a 6 rounder. As I say, it could have been a lot worse for me.

10) What are Kieran Farrell’s goals & ambitions for his boxing career outside the ropes?

As you mentioned earlier Dermot I have my Bbbofc professional managers licence now, I’m signing 3/4 boxers up this week, I’m working hard putting in silly hours in my gym & at the management side of things. Hopefully in the future I manage/train champions and maybe open my own small hall promotions then j can look at bigger things like TV deals etc. in the future, I can already visualise it!

I’m 25 years old, I may not be able to box again but I can still take over this boxing game!


Integral part of the Irish boxing community for over 13 years