Sheffield charity boxer fighting in memory of his grandmother

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Karl Wiley basked in boxing glory after stopping his opponent in a 14-second first round flurry.

It was the first time in the ring for Karl, and his hard-hitting debut got plaudits from Sheffield’s world champion Kell Brook.

But Karl, aged 36, of Queens Road, Sheffield, was not in the ring for glory – he did it for his grandmother, who was cruelly taken by Alzheimer’s Disease.

Sheila Rose Concannon, of Arbourthorne, who had 10 children, 27 grandchildren and 22 great grandchildren, died aged 80 in March 2014 – but started to feel something was wrong aged 59.

She was diagnosed aged 63 and the disease took hold quickly.

Karl said: “She was surrounded by family and friends but she was always looking for her loved ones.

“We were right there with her but she did not know us, we were all strangers to her.

“What happened to my grandmother left a lasting impact on all our lives, we were all touched by this terrible disease.”

Alzheimer’s Disease is a physical disease that affects the brain. It causes damage to parts of the brain and symptoms develop including problems with memory loss, communication, reasoning, orientation and sometimes hallucinations.

Boxing is taking off as a hugely popular way to raise money for charities. Karl decided to get involved to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society in his grandmother’s memory.

Karl, a media sales executive, hit The Sheffield Boxing Centre in Hillsborough, run by former city lightweight boxer Glyn Rhodes MBE.

But with top training comes the hard work and as Karl explains, it’s no walk in the park.

Karl said: “It’s such a great experience to get trained by top boxers. They teach you the basics like how to stand correctly and make you train like a professional.

“You don’t turn up thinking it’s going to be an easy ride, it’s such an eye-opener.

“They tell you it won’t be easy – you’re going in to get punched after all – so you need to be ready.”

After tasting victory in his debut bout, Karl has pencilled in another fight and is hitting the gym hard.

He said: “I’m really up for the next fight now, it’s not long away I can’t wait to get back in the ring again.

“But win, lose or draw I’ll still enjoy myself because it’s for a great cause.”

Karl said his grandmother is still his motivation for success. He said: “As a kid me and various aunties and uncles would go up to her house and watch all the Saturday night TV. All of us would go and play football on the field in a big group and she’d come along with us. They were happy times.”

Karl’s next bout is due to take place at 3pm tomorrow at Sheffield United’s Bramall Lane stadium.

For tickets contact Karl at karl.southwood@jpress.co.uk