Owen Durnan: Sheffield boxer beats cancer and declares it his ‘biggest victory’

A Sheffield boxer has beaten cancer and declared it the ‘biggest victory’ of his life.

Tuesday, 31st May 2022, 6:32 pm
Updated Wednesday, 1st June 2022, 9:29 am

Owen Durnan from Wisewood was diagnosed with hodgkin lymphoma on April 6 after a lump in his neck was discovered during a routine check-up at the dentist when he was getting a professional mouth guard fitted.

Read More

Read More
Barnsley FC confirm talks with two League One managers and rule out former Ports...

"I was in disbelief,” the 21-year-old told The Star.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Sheffield boxer Owen Durnan has beaten cancer.

"I didn’t feel any emotion at the time. I didn’t cry until a bit after.”

He added: "I was devastated. At first I didn’t feel like it was happening to me.”

Owen first felt the lump in March 2021 but thought it was just swollen glands.

He added: “Everyone I spoke to said it can happen when you are ill, because I was always training I just thought my immune system was low.”

Owen, centre, with his girlfriend Bex, left, sister Skye, eight, and mum Rebecca.

The former Forge Valley School pupil had an operation to remove the lump on 6 May – and was given the all-clear on Tuesday.

How did he react when he heard the news?

"I just started smiling. Me and the doctor were talking a bit about boxing and he said I can start boxing again.

"Me and my family were all ecstatic today. We went for some food and I took my sister (Skye, eight) to the fair where I started crying, I think it all hit home.”

Owen had an operation to remove a lump on his neck.

Owen is one of four siblings along with Skye, Ellie, three and older brother Kaden, 26.

He added: “Skye knew, she was quite upset about it. We are quite an open family so we told her and told her what could happen. She was upset at first but now she’s just happy.”

"I would say I’m very, very fortunate in a way. I’m unlucky as I was going to box and it’s slowed me down but imagine if I had it proper bad.

"It's better than winning any national championship. It is my biggest win, to be honest, it just means more at the end of the day.”

Owen now has his sights set on making his professional debut before the end of 2022.

His trainer at Manor Boxing Academy, Roger Sampson, said: “He’s the hardest trainer in the gym, there’s no doubt about that. He just doesn't let anything stop him.

"Everything we do in the gym, he does a little bit more than anybody else. He wants to go one step further, that’s the type of guy he is.”

Roger continued: “This is the biggest victory our club has ever had.”

Izzy Asif, who will be managing Owen’s professional career, added: “We are buzzing for him and can’t wait for him to get into the ring to do what he’s been wanting to do his whole life.

"We are going to fulfil his dream and get him in the ring.”

Owen, who was bullied at school, said: “It’s just another thing to add to the story. It’ll just mean even more when I win something. If I win a world title it will just have that extra meaning.”