Boston Irish community fights it out to raise money for cancer foundation

Boston, MA, 02/16/15 – Following yet another highly successful charitable boxing show in Boston last April, the annual ‘Battle at the Bay’ event is now preparing for its fourth edition on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at the Dorchester Armory.

This yearly fundraiser is the brainchild of Irishman, Mark Porter, who was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2005 but fought a victorious battle against the cancer.
Since being given a clean bill of health, the Donegal native has run ten consecutive Boston Marathons and raised thousands of dollars for various cancer charities in Massachusetts.

“I feel very blessed to have been given a second chance,” the father of three said.
In 2011, a lifelong boxing fan that often helped promote professional boxing shows around the city of Boston; Porter decided it would be fun to organize a charity version.

“I’ve helped promote professional boxing shows [in Boston] and just decided if I am going to do all that work, I’d rather do it for a good cause,” the cancer survivor recalled.

The first ‘Battle at the Bay’ was held in 2012 and was a triumph, attracting 1500 spectators from the Greater Boston area, who all came down to cheer on the fighters and help raise $60,000 for the Dana Farber’s Children program.

“It was a phenomenal success both on the night and in terms of the money we raised,” the Irishman recalls.

Since then, the boxing show has raised $130,000 for various charities and has become a popular annual fixture in the city’s social calendar.

Unlike other charity boxing shows, where professional fighters take to the ring, the contenders who take part in ‘Battle at the Bay’ are novice fighters who come from all walks of life. Many have never stepped inside a boxing club never mind a boxing ring in their life-time.

“From construction workers, mothers, students, to policemen, you name it….we’ve seen them all come through our training camp,” Porter remarked.

One of the main attractions for the participants is the opportunity to get in shape, learn how to box under the guidance of professional boxers and all with the knowledge that their efforts will raise much needed funds for local causes.

All contenders have been training hard at the highly respected TNT Boxing Gym in Braintree every Tuesday and Thursday evening since early December. These training sessions are intended to give every wannabe Rocky Balboa, a chance to gain confidence and learn the boxing skills required to be able to fight like a pro-boxer come fight day on March 28.

Dublin native, Clodagh Fox, has signed up for the event and spoke about her reasons for getting involved “I always set myself a target every year so this boxing match came at a perfect time. I try to do charity work throughout the year so it’s great. I get fit while helping a worthwhile cause!”

Adding “I think cancer affects everyone in some way, my dad died at the age of 41 from liver cancer so I know the pain and devastation it causes families so I’m very proud to be a part of this event! I’m really excited to try something different and to see how far I can push myself and hopefully have a laugh in the process!”

However Fox admits she mightn’t be as enthusiastic when she takes the ring, saying “ I’m not going to lie, I’m nervous about the actual fight but hopefully after I’ve trained enough I’ll feel more prepared, right?!”

As well as new faces, the event continues to attract many of its previous fighters who return for a second or third round. Donegal native, Michael Roddy, has been a firm fixture with the event since it started, first as a fighter and now helping coach the new intakes.

Roddy said “I used to train at my local boxing club in Inishowen [Donegal] and when Mark asked me to get involved in the first event, it was an easy yes. I’ve been helping out ever since.”

Explaining the type of training participants are put through every week, Roddy says “We train the same way as you would back home in Ireland. We start by doing some cardio; followed by pad work to help our fighters learn and perfect their technique. After that, we spend time on some light sparring to mimic the fight itself.”

The 2015 event was officially launched in January with the help of two of Ireland’s biggest sporting exports to America, Irish professional boxer, Jason Quigley, and UFC fighter, Conor Mc Gregor.

“To have two of Ireland’s biggest fighting talent take time out to attend our launch was amazing. It was a great boost for our fighters and for the fundraiser,” Porter said.
This year, all monies raised will benefit the ‘Let’s Stop Cancer’ foundation which was co-founded by Porter and provides practical support to individuals and their families dealing with a cancer diagnosis.

Tickets are now available for the fourth ‘Battle at the Bay’ boxing show, with a suggested donation of $25 securing entry to the event. Local businesses are also being invited to get involved with the March charity event either by sponsoring a fighter or the event.
To find out more information, visit Facebook/battleatthebay.

The launch of the 2015 event was featured on Donegal TV: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cpiqE3MKbV8&feature=youtu.be&a

All monies this year benefit the ‘Let’s Stop Cancer’ Foundation and their website is: lscnow.org

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