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Kenneth Egan: I'm fighting alcoholism battle

Olympic hero says he put his mother through hell with binges before her intervention put him on the right road again.

Image: Inpho

OLYMPIC BOXING HERO Kenneth Egan has admitted that his life descended into alcoholism after he won a silver medal at the Beijing Games in 2008.

The Dubliner says he is now sober for 25 weeks and regularly attends Alcoholics Anonymous meetings. Egan is currently based in Florida as he competes with the Miami team in the World Series of Boxing.

He says the two years after his famous performance in China was a turbulent period in which he ‘broke his mother’s heart’.

“I was drinking too much. I was in a bad place. I was drinking too much,” he said on RTÉ’s Saturday Night Show with Brendan O’Connor, “Ever since I got back from the games I just went mad on it and didn’t stop.”

Famously, the Ireland skipper failed to show for a bout against the USA in February 2009 and fled to New York. He later apologised to team-mates and coaches at the National Stadium

Speaking to O’Connor about the extended binges that marked that troubled period, he added: ‘They would go on for a week, two weeks. I’d go mad.”

I’d start with my mates and then the next day I’d go with someone else and then the last day of the week I’d be sitting with an old man in a corner, giving him high fives, having great craic.

“At the end of it I’d say: “What am I at here?” I’d go home then, get into bed, feel all sorry for myself, sweats, nightmares, the whole lot. I broke my mother’s heart.”

Egan admitted that the intervention of his mother was key to getting his life back on track.

At the graveside of two other children she buried as infants, his mother begged him to get his life together.

Maura Egan told O’Connor from the studio audience: ‘There are two Kenneths. There was the nice Kenneth when he wasn’t drinking and there was the different Kenneth when he was drinking. But we had to do something to stop it and get him out of that.”

Egan intends to fight at the Olympic Games in London 2012. He added: “I could see myself in four or five years with the Olympics having slipped through my hands because of the gargle sitting in front of me.”

The Clondalkin man will defend his Irish senior light heavyweight title at the end of the month. He has held the title for 10 years.

Egan said he’s taking preparations for the Olympics in London ‘one day at a time’.

Watch the Saturday Night Show here>

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