The fight of his life

Boxer Patrick Molloy works out on the speed bag in Winnipeg Saturday May 26, 2012. Molloy is a...

Boxer Patrick Molloy works out on the speed bag in Winnipeg Saturday May 26, 2012. Molloy is a cancer survivor. (QMI Agency/Brian Donogh)

Ken Wiebe, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:06 PM ET

WINNIPEG - It wouldn’t be entirely accurate to say boxing saved Patrick Molloy in his battle against cancer.

But it’s not a stretch to suggest it helped bring him back to life.

Molloy has been in remission for about six years following a difficult battle against tongue cancer — which was diagnosed in 2005.

“It was a T4 tumour, which is the largest, when they found it,” Molloy said at In This Corner Boxing Club on Saturday afternoon, as the facility celebrated its one-year anniversary and growth from 12 members to 346. “The prognosis wasn’t good initially. They did not think I’d survive. I had to have surgery, followed by a month in the hospital. Then they did chemo (therapy) and radiation at the same time. I was off work for six months, I couldn’t talk or eat for five. The recovery process was very long, but I had great support from friends, family and co-workers.

“Getting into boxing, it rebuilt my confidence and my fitness. Getting a routine really helped mentally too.”

Molloy, who had lost close to 30 pounds, turned to boxing about three years ago for a good workout. Before he knew it, he was a 41-year-old rookie in amateur boxing — jumping in the ring against opponents half his age.

Up a notch

“During the past eight months, I’ve taken it up another notch,” said Molloy. “It’s a great way to stay in shape, but I decided to apply the skills and see what it was like to actually compete. I realized how tough the sport is from a technique point of view, but that drove me even more. People see it on TV and it doesn’t look that hard, that complicated. But when you do it, you see all of the nuances.

“I’m kind of an old man to get started in the sport, but I’m having a lot of fun with it.”

Under the guidance of coach Mark Riggs, a former Irish amateur champion who earned the Canadian Super Lightweight crown as a pro in 2002, Molloy took on Garreth Francis in an exhibition bout as part of The Shamrock Showdown card in March.

Buoyed by how things went, Molloy went up against Phil Bras at the Pan Am Boxing Club on April 14, losing a close decision. Molloy, who now competes at light welterweight, wasn’t discouraged.

“Not at all, it inspired me to get ready for the next one,” said Molloy. “I held my own. I was fit enough and my technique was strong enough.”

Molloy recognizes he has a limited shelf life when it comes to competitions, but is planning to fight every couple of months or so.

Since there isn’t a masters division (34-and-older) in Canada, Molloy’s long-range goal is to compete in the Ringside World Championship next year in Kansas City, Mo.

“To do a tournament like that would be amazing,” said Molloy. “Boxing isn’t unlike life, you don’t know what’s going to be thrown at you and you have to be able to respond and adapt to different situations.” 


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