By Liam McInerney
Declan Geraghty is a 26-year-old professional boxer from the flats.
But his journey in life could have taken a darker turn.
As he says himself, without boxing, he could be dead.
If not dead, potentially a drug dealer or working in a low-skilled job with zero prospects.
‘Pretty Boy’ Geraghty explained how boxing saved him from a life of uncertainty.
He said: “Third level education wasn’t a big thing, now you’re starting to see a few more of the younger people going but then it wasn’t a big thing. It was either get a job or sell drugs. Where would I be? Dead. I don’t know. I could have been easily dead.
“I have friends who have passed away or are doing drugs and I would probably have gone down the same road as them easily. It was just that I was good at boxing and have always been good at boxing. I just kept plugging away even at times I wanted to quit but I kept plugging away hoping something good came of it.
“I was lucky I didn’t follow the same path as my mates because of boxing. I’m just blessed to have this talent and to have my father and family pushing me,” Geraghty added.
How influential was Geraghty’s dad in keeping the youngster away from trouble?
“Without him I wouldn’t be doing this. My father is my coach and has always been throughout my amateur career. He’s kept me on the straight and narrow. Without him I would have packed it in, even if I was winning titles I would have packed it in. I owe everything to him. I can’t give him enough recognition for what he’s done.”
Geraghty spoke with frustration when he argued that he, along with other fighters, don’t receive sufficient acknowledgement for becoming professional athletes.
He claimed: “I’ve never been awarded for anything. Besides Kenny Egan there’s not many Dubliners who have done better than me, the national titles I’ve won, I’ve never been giving any sort of reward at all. I find it very f**king strange. I know people who have won less than me and been handed awards.
“It’s already hard to get going and to keep on that good path and you’re not getting the support you need, I never got funded or grants given, it was very difficult, then the temptation is to sell drugs or take drugs, drinking.
“When things are going bad in boxing, those temptations are there. Nobody is really looking out for you besides the close-knit group you have yourself. I’m not going to cry about it because I’m not the only one that’s done it, McGregor has done it, there are other boxers too. The sport we are in is a lower class sport. You wouldn’t really get posh people in boxing or the UFC, it’s a rough sport. It’s just unfortunate that we don’t get enough recognition that we should get from it.”
In 2014, Geraghty turned professional and has established a record of 14 wins and one loss.
In December the honest and accessible sportsman will compete for the Irish super-featherweight title in Dublin, his first fight at home since 2015.
Recently the unforgiving world of boxing reminded us of how perilous it can be.
Scottish pugilist Mike Towell died after a fight in September and in March, Nick Blackwell was placed into an induced coma following injuries sustained in the ring.
Fortunately, the latter survived.
Geraghty articulated the impact such devastating news has on himself and fellow boxers.
“We go into the ring and it may be the last thing we ever do. You’re risking your life every time you step in there. We don’t get enough credit for it. It’s horrible to see what happened to Mike Towell.
“It’s not nice. People don’t recognise how dangerous this sport is. Pro gloves are only like cardboard over your hand. The gloves I’ve fought in in the past my knuckles go right through, it’s fist fighting. It’s an awful shame what happened. It could happen to any of us. I don’t believe we get enough credit and support in Ireland.”