St. Denis Principal Competes in Murphy’s Gloves Charity Boxing Event

Congratulations to Kevin Lamb, Principal of St. Denis Catholic Elementary School in St. Catharines, who took part in the “Murphy’s Kids” boxing event in St. Catharines in November. The event is named in honour of longtime boxing coach Keith Murphy, who is now confined to a wheelchair due to MS.

In the narrative below, Mr. Lamb shares how he came to be involved in the event, and reflects on the experience.

I got involved in the Murphy’s Kids boxing event, when Joe Corrigan, the head coach at the St. Catharines Boxing Club, came by St. Nicholas Catholic Elementary School (where I was Principal) last year, asking if I would pass out some flyers for “Murphy’s Kids.”  That’s a program run by the Club which provides free boxing lessons for kids from low-income families.

We got talking amateur boxing – I’m a casual fan – and he asked if I’d be willing to go on a card in November to help raise money for the program.  I said I’d love to but I had no experience. Joe explained how we’d train for it in the fall, and some of the other fighters would be guys like me, people willing to do it to help raise awareness for the program, but with no experience.

Keith is held in very high regard by not just the local boxing community but by clubs across the province and country so there was no shortage of great fighters and coaches all willing to come from around the province for the night.  The card was a real mix of talent and experience: Provincial and National boxers, as well as young guys making their debut in the ring. It was a thrill to be on the same card as Olympian Steve Pagendam, whom I watched fight for Canada more than 30 years ago.

My fight ended in a draw, which I think is the norm for exhibition matches, and objectively I think it was a fair result.

During training, one of the coaches told me I’d never feel more alive than I would when I stepped into the ring, and I can tell you with 100 per cent certainty that’s true. The fight – actually, the whole night – was one of the biggest adrenaline rushes I’ve ever experienced.

This experience was such a blessing for me in so many ways. I trained three or four nights a week, and had the opportunity to meet Keith. All I could think of was how much Keith would have loved to have been doing what I was doing those nights. What a great motivator – and reality check – for me!

Training at the club for two months was an incredible experience to be part of. The atmosphere is so positive and so encouraging and all the young and older experienced fighters and coaches were really pleased how my Pat Ryan and I fought.  We got some really nice compliments from people that have been around the sport for a long time; not just on how we performed, but that we both actually had the courage to do it, and that was incredibly humbling.

I am so grateful for the many people who showed up to support me: My family and friends and so many people from my Niagara Catholic family. A special thanks, too, to those who bought tickets as a show of support, even though they were unable to attend. We raised more than $7,000 to help provide opportunities for kids in need in Niagara, and that’s fantastic. I hope that it becomes an annual event and that more people like me – who never dreamed they’d be stepping into a boxing ring – give it a try.



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