LETTERKENNY’S DARREN MANGAN has been forced to retire from professional boxing at just 22 years of age.
Mangan was preparing for his Irish debut at The National Stadium in Dublin, scheduled to take place on November 5, when a medical in Letterkenny yesterday showed up an underlying cardiac condition.
Mangan, who was in training with John Breen in Belfast ahead of his planned bout, has had to quit the sport he loves.
“The doctor said it was a miracle that I hadn’t dropped dead under all the exertion with the training,” Mangan told Donegal Sport Hub.[adrotate group=”85″]
On a week when the Munster Rugby coach Anthony Foley died suddenly in France, as a result of underlying issues, Mangan believes himself to be ‘lucky’, even though he feels empty.
He said: “I am just so, so grateful that I am in a sport that has such tight medical conditions attached to it.
“You hear so often of footballers collapsing and dying because of conditions that were unknown.
“Even the death at the weekend of Anthony Foley brought to light how these conditions are at work undetected. Only for boxing, there was a very real chance that I would be on that list.”
Mangan made his pro debut in September 2014, when he defeated Kashif Muhammad at the Brooklyn Masonic Centre in New York.
He soon left Uprising Promotions, with whom he was aligned in the Big Apple, and took some time out of the sport before he joined up with Breen a couple of months ago.
At Breen’s Lombard Street Gym, Mangan was working with the likes of Eamonn Magee – a former world champion – and was eyeing up a big night in Dublin, but now his world has been turned upside-down.[adrotate group=”76″]
He said: “I am absolutely crushed. I had put absolutely everything in to this throughout my life. I sacrificed friendships, relationships, memories with loved ones, believing in that unique dream that I had. Now, that has all been taken away.
“I quit my job in Dublin to work towards my dream. I had absolutely emptied my heart and my soul into this. I really wanted to represent Donegal and Mayo well in the fight and in my career.
“November 5 meant everything. I had overcome so much adversity in my personal life over the last 16, 17 months, this felt like a new start, but I just knew that something was off when I was back in training.
“Myself, John and Eamonn knew something was up. I sort of brushed it off saying: ‘I’ll be alright, it’ll be grand’, but I’m lucky now I went and got looked at.”[adrotate group=”53″]
Mangan, who originally hails from Castlebar in County Mayo, is a former four-time Ulster champion as an amateur and boxed for both Letterkenny ABC and Finn Valley ABC.
He said: “There are so many people that I want to thank here. First and foremost, my friends and my close friends who have been there for me through the last couple of days, which have been very tough.
“Peter O’Donnell, Donegal’s Mr Boxing, has been so good to me over the years. John Elliott gave me everything in Letterkenny ABC and Kevin Doherty was another who coached me.
“John Breen and Eamonn Magee gave me a new start in Belfast and believed in me and I would also like to thank David McGinley, for the hours of work he did with me after training. Neil Barrett from FitHub and former Mayor of Donegal Ciaran Brogan gave me an awful lot of help and assistance too.
“Boxing gave me everything in my life. I will take some time now with my friends and family, I’ll focus on recovering and will take some time to reflect.”[adrotate group=”83″] Tags: