May 24 at the House of Blues on Lansdowne Street will be a special night for local boxer Danny O’Connor and the Dropkick Murphys’ charity, the Claddagh Fund. For over a century, Boston’s baseball players have done battle against their New York counterparts on the Fenway Park diamond across the road, and now the rivalry against the city three hours down I-95 will take to the ring.

This professional fight night featuring boxers from Boston versus their New York counterparts will be headlined by Danny O’Connor and Daniel Sostre, with all proceeds going to the Claddagh Fund.

The New England region has a long and proud tradition of producing world champion boxers; Rocky Marciano and Marvin Hagler are some of the names that come to mind. The Irish, as one would expect, have played a significant role since John L. Sullivan won the hearts of Bostonians and indeed the nation in the late 1800s.

Born in Boston’s South End to Irish immigrants, Sullivan was the first sports celebrity in the United States, and held the distinction of being the last bare knuckle champion and the first gloved title holder. In recent years, Sean Mannion, Kevin McBride and - celebrated on the big screen - “Irish” Mickey Ward have carried on the rich history of Irish and Irish American boxers in the region.

Danny O’Connor, extremely proud of his Donegal roots, aims to continue that shining tradition. Hailing from Framingham, MA, the light welterweight is a two-time national amateur champ and has a 16-1 professional record, with three KOs. The 26-year-old operates on a “hard work and perseverance” philosophy.

Now, he is in training in Houston under the tutelage of Ronnie Shields. Back to full health after a recent scare, he has his eyes set on a world title shot. Shields has trained the likes of Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, and Pernell Whitaker.

A dedicated father and family man, Danny recently received the backing of the Dropkick Murphys after volunteering with the Claddagh Fund, which supports many local charities including the Franciscan Children’s Hospital and the Dorchester Boys and Girls Club.

Ken Casey of the Dropkick Murphys explained how it came to pass.

“Danny and I had just become friends,” explained Ken. “He was doing some work for our charity foundation and I quickly realized he was a good kid, a hard worker, a little baby boy to take care of.”

Ken thought that he was in a position to use his connections to help Danny on the road to his goal.
“I thought maybe I could be of some help to this kid by marketing him to Dropkick Murphys fans and by using some of my local connections to get him some TV and press coverage, but the more I did the more I realized how much more there was to do. It's fun to learn a new business and learn the ropes of something so different, but in some other ways it’s so similar to what I do for my real job.”

The night will also feature live music by the Old Brigade and special guests; it promises to be a great evening of boxing and music at the House of Blues. Come along and support Danny in his quest to bring a world title to Boston, all for a great cause. Tickets are available or by checking out Danny’s Facebook page.


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