A Norfolk boxer who made a sensational knock-out return to the sport after a four-year absence has presented £4,000 to the hospital which treated his young son.
Michael Walsh maintained his unbeaten 100% KO record from 12 fights at the event on December 16 at the Holiday Inn Norwich North, stopping his opponent after just 125 seconds in the ring.
Michael donated his entire fight purse to the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Great Ormond Street Hospital, where doctors treated his young son Liam who was born with a heart just 20% of its normal size.
Last week, the 35-year-old Featherweight from Cromer visited the N&N along with little Liam who is now 20 months old, and trainer Graham Everett, to hand over the money to the N&N Hospitals Charity and the team on NICU.
Michael said: “I just wanted to pay them back for everything they have done for Liam.
“I have had great support from Graham, and the promoter Mervyn Turner and referee Lee Cook also gave his fee and expenses along with the other officials.
“Liam has already had seven operations and he will be having another soon so I wanted the £8,000 to be split between the two hospitals where Liam has been treated.”
The youngest of Michael’s six children, Liam was just 700 grams when he was born at the N&N. Along with his wife Laura, the couple never left the hospital site with Michael sleeping in his car while Laura stayed at Liam’s side.
Michael said: “Every day, we didn’t know if it was going to be his last so there was no way I was going to leave my boy, I just wanted to be with him.
“Thankfully, we have a big family and they all pulled together looking after the other children while we were at hospital with Liam.”
Looking at Liam, it’s hard to imagine he had such a difficult start to life and, Michael said, he is just like any other little boy and loves playing with his siblings and cousins.
Having made the amazing comeback, Michael is now training for his next fight in February and could be just two fights away from a British title fight.
Lynn Crombie, from the N&N Hospitals Charity, said: “Along with everyone at NICU, we want to say thank you to Michael for this amazing donation to the department.
“Donations like this make a huge difference to what the team can do to help our youngest patients and their families.
“It was lovely to see Michael and his team and to meet his little fighter, Liam.”
For more information about the N&N Hospitals Charity, go to https://nnhospitalscharity.org.uk/
Picture caption: Consultant Neonatologist Rahul Roy and NICU staff say thank you to Michael and Liam Walsh and Michael’s trainer Graham Everett.