May 12 CC DannyO_DMKdanny&ken

Dropkick Murphys has supported charities well before they became one of the top Irish Punk bands in the world. It is a part of their blue collar make-up to reach out and help people in the community. Now that their fan base includes over one million Facebook followers and a mailing list exceeding 300,000, their access has expanded – and so has their capacity to help others.
Having worked their way to be in a position to appeal to the generosity of so many like minded fans, Ken Casey of the Dropkick Murphys (DKM) found the Claddagh Fund in 2009 to raise funds for worthy, under funded community-based non-profits, with a focus on children and veterans organizations and programs that support alcohol and drug rehabilitation in cities across the country and around the world.

The Irish Claddagh symbol is a visual portrayal of the eternal bond of friendship, love and loyalty, and these values are at the core of the Claddagh Fund. Calling on friendships with celebrities, athletes, fans and corporations is key to the grassroots approach of the Claddagh Fund mission. One who answered the call of the Claddagh Fund is highly touted junior welterweight boxing prospect Danny O’Connor.
The Framingham native has been training hard in Houston, Texas under renowned trainer Ronnie Shields ( Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield, Pernell Whitaker ). With a champion amateur record and 16-1 as a pro, Danny O intends to take the next step towards a world title shot when he returns home to fight May 24th at the House of Blues in Boston, Massachusetts as he headlines a Boston versus New York themed boxing card.
Through his involvement in the Claddagh Fund he will have legions of DKM fans in his corner. “I have picked up a lot of new fans. The DKM fans have embraced me with open arms and to me it feel like they are more of a family than fans. They have shown me support and appreciation and I feel so amazed to have them behind me. They help motivate me to achieve my world championship goals in boxing.”

Danny O got involved with the Claddagh Fund this past year and he is a true believer in the cause. “It really is a great charity and they help so many people. I feel honored to be a part of it and I absolutely love to give back any way I can. I may fight in the ring by myself but I honestly believe that along my road I have been blessed with special people to help me along my journey. I wouldn’t be were I am today if it weren’t for people taking there time to help me and for that I pay it forward.”

After becoming active in the Claddagh Fund, Danny O formed an immediate bond with DKM’s Casey, a self-described sports fanatic. He vowed to use his extensive influence to help raise Danny’s profile and signed on as co-manager. He said, “Danny is the genuine article. He has a highly decorated amateur pedigree, a blue collar mentality, and the required desire to make it to the top.”
Danny’s admiration and appreciation is mutual, “Being associated with the Dropkick Murphys is a dream come true for a local kid. As a working class Irish American fighter from the Boston area, the relationship is a natural fit. I know nothing was ever given to them and they went out and earned every fan one at a time. As a fighter you have to have that same approach.” He explained a common denominator behind his close connection with Casey and DKM, “They are such a great group of guys, I’m truly blessed to have met them. I think I share a lot of the same traits that the DKM embody, and that’s a blue collar hard work ethic. That’s the same way I approach boxing, I’m always willing to go the extra mile and work hard- it’s also a lifestyle I live.”

Another big motivator for Danny is the love and loyalty shared by his family. “Every step I make in this life is for my wife Diane and my son Liam (1 year old).” That special love made it all the more difficult to move to Texas without his wife and then 4 month old son last year to train. But he new the strategy was an important part to the success of his boxing career. “Coach Ronnie Shields is one of the best trainers in the world and a Hall-of-Famer. He trained some of the greats so being around him I’m bettering myself as a fighter every second.” But it was tough without his family. “I came to Houston and did 6 months by myself with nothing but my boxing gear. Training was absolutely awesome, being away from my family was not. I mean I missed them so much there were times it literally hurt and I wanted to cry. Some fighters need to go away to camp to get away from friends and family – I’m not one of those fighters. I’m focused and motivated and my motivation is Diane and Liam, so what better way than having them in my sight while I’m doing it, right?” Recently his wife and son have joined him in Houston and have buoyed his spirits. “They come to the gym at times and watch me – Diane has even been at the track strolling Liam while I’m doing my sprints with my conditioning coach. All my down time from training is spent with them and watching my son grow up.”

With such a close relationship built around DKM – what music does Danny O listen to?
“I am a DKM music fan. I also like some Johnny Cash. I’m a pretty easy going guy when it comes to music I like everything and listen to everything from DKM to country to baby making music,” he laughed and said, “To tell you the truth, my personal Ipod is on the fritz so I’ve been running with Diane’s. I’ll b jamming out on her play list to DKM and next thing I know Taylor Swift comes on! (chuckle) So, I just go with the flow!”

The 25 year old Southpaw with championship enthusiasm left with a few more words and a request for our readers, “I wanted to mention that Ken (Casey) and I have big plans for myself in the future. Hopefully one day I can fight in the Boston Garden, or Fenway Park would be amazing – and bring boxing back to Boston. Red Sox have their championships and the Bruins have their cup, the Celtics have their ring – I would love to bring a world championship belt home to the city of Boston. First Boston then the world!
My personal website is www.dannyoconnorboxing.com and I have a fan page on face book and a personal page(facebook.com/dannyoconnorboxing) and people can follow me on twitter @DOC_Boxing. If you could include those it would be awesome!”
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