BY SEÁN P. FEENY
A DONEGAL native has been inducted into the Upper Darby Police Youth Athletic Gym Hall of Fame in Philadelphia becoming the second member of his family to do so.
Kevin Ward, originally from Creeslough but living in Philadelphia for the past twenty years, received the prestigious accolade at a presentation night. Currently visiting his native Creeslough with his uncle, John Boyle from Cashel, we caught up with Kevin.
The son of Danny and the late Bridget Ward, Drumnacarry, was surrounded by friends and family as he became the second member of the Ward family to receive the award.
Kevin’s brother Brendan is also a Hall of Famer and was named Man of the Year by the Upper Darby Police Athletic League in 2011.
“There’s no tougher man than my brother Brendan, I had tougher sparring sessions with him than most of my fights, he taught me a lot.
“Brendan got into the Hall of Fame a few years ago, then last year he was named Man Of The Year as he is still very much involved with the kids.
“When they announced that I was to be inducted, it came as a big surprise as I never thought I was worthy, It was very special, especially as my uncle John Boyle, who has always been very close to us, was over from Manchester for it,” said Kevin.
Kevin joined the Upper Darby Police Youth Athletic Gym when he first moved over to the States in 1992, having grown up boxing with Dunfanaghy ABC.
“I started boxing with Dunfanaghy at the age of 14 under Eddie Harkin and Mickey Dunnion. When I was 18 I moved to London where I boxed with Highgate Boxing Gym for a few years before moving to Philadelphia,” he said.
Kevin joined his older Brendan, who had moved to Philadelphia in the early 80s, at the Upper Darby gym and started boxing on the amateur circuit.
During his career he won the Golden Gloves in 1993, the Mid Atlantic Championship, the Diamond Championship and the Tri State Championship over five years.
Although he is not a full-time coach, the Upper Darby gym is still like a second home to the Creeslough man and he enjoys visiting hand having a ‘mess around’ with the kids.
Kevin comes from a family of boxers. His oldest brother Donal was a boxer, Brendan was a professional boxer and their uncle John Boyle, a native of Cashel but residing in Manchester, was a prize fighter competing around the North England city.