Niall Kennedy, a 36-year-old garda from Gorey who has carved himself a heavyweight professional boxing career, has recently been honoured with the title of “Hero of the World” by the World Boxing Council, for his efforts in the frontline fight against covid-19.
The Gorey man, who is stationed in Wicklow, was nominated for the award by his trainer Paschal “Packie” Collins and American boxing promoter Lou DiBella.
The WBC, based in Mexico City, has recognised Mr. Kennedy’s contributions as a frontline worker and his tireless campaign for mental health services, which is why they have honoured him as a “Hero of the World”, an award from the boxing council to highlight athletes who go above and beyond with their humanitarian efforts.
Kennedy is one of the organisers of a 24-hour mental health charity event in Gorey Boxing Club, an event which has brought top Irish sportspeople such as Conor McDonald and Anthony Masterson to the club to give engaging talks about mental health and sport.
He is also involved with Headspace Gorey, an online resource that helps people of all ages navigate everything from mental health issues to addiction and sex to nutrition.
Kennedy has spoken candidly about his own struggles with bipolar disorder, how it has impacted his life, and the medication he uses to help manage it.
A fighter in and out of the ring, Niall Kennedy has stressed that even though many others are ready for him to hang up his gloves – he says his boxing career is far from over, and speaking to the Independent.ie, he says; “I want to empty the tank completely and to be sure that when I do retire, I know I have given it everything,”