Carl’s a battler – in and out of the ring!

Boxer Carl Keane Carl Keane  has defied life-threatening illness to continue his influential role in kick boxing and amateur boxing in Pembroke Dock  after he started out in kick boxing at 16 and gained his Welsh kick boxing title in 1989, when five years of hard work was rewarded with the title.
"At amateur level I used to box three rounds of two minutes but when I was semi-pro and winning my titles the Welsh bouts were five rounds of three minutes, followed by British and European fights of ten rounds over two minutes.
"I also had a bash at semi-contact karate and between the two I had over 80 fights, winning the vast majority of them as I trained with Graham Brockway and finally was awarded my Black Belt First Dan, followed by my Second Dan a while later, which earned me my instructor's qualification.

Serious knee injury halts his progress . . .

"But my career was finished by a knee injury sustained in a fight and so once I recovered I took up amateur boxing and won seven of my ten bouts under Graham Brockway -  but then I decided it was time to take up coaching and I’ve been involved ever since."
"At Pembroke ABC I started to help Ralph Gammer as assistant coach and when Ralph decided to step down from a great job he had done I took over the reins as we trained at East End in Pembroke and then shifted our gym to a building in Charlton Place, Pembroke Dock.

. . . So he turned to success in amateur boxing!

"One of the things that I am proud of is the fact that I also helped Scott Gammer raise his fitness levels before he became British Heavyweight professional champion after working hard to gain my pro trainer's licence after sitting before a panel of five people in Cardiff.
Then in 2012 Carl started his own gym in Pembroke Dock where he could divide his time between coaching amateur boxing and kick boxing in a gym that required a huge amount of work before it was ready for action.
He named it the Dockers ABC and Pembroke Kick Boxing Club and it is a measure of his determination that things started to move ahead because there wasn't even the basics of water or electricity but with amazing support he gradually got things sorted out.

A new fight begins – for his life!

Carl Keane in hospitalBut then things took an awful turn and we let Carl tell his own story of the biggest fight of his life!
“In October 2015, after working a 12-hour shift and going beach training, I returned home normally, but later that night in bed I suffered a seizure. Early the following morning we went straight to A&E where they suspected I’d suffered with a minor stroke.
“I had all the usual tests plus an MRI and CT scan and was later admitted to the stroke ward for two days whilst the scan results were sent to the Neurology Department at the University of Wales Hospital as a precautionary measure - where upon it was discovered that I had a brain tumour on my frontal left side, and I was put on medication, which resulted in me not being able to drive for a minimum of 12 months or more.

Shattering diagnosis

“This affected my work and my whole life as an independent person. We then had to wait a further 10 days to see what treatment I would receive - the options were to let it be and observe the growth rate, have chemotherapy or go for removal.
“We visited the consultant and the diagnosis was surgical resection removal. I would have to have a stealth-guided craniotomy and the operation was scheduled for the 18th of November 2015.
“Waiting for the due date was agonising and frustrating, when they sit down and tell you what the worst case scenarios are it takes a lot of out of you both mentally and physically, but through the course of being diagnosed and having the surgery and recovery my wife Michelle was my rock, and so were both my sons Lance and Liam.

Total support around him

Carl KeaneAlso supporting me through this uncertain time were the rest of both our families, friends and Dockers ABC members: its only when something like this happens to you realise how many people care about you.
“It was hard to stay positive when feeling so low mentally, as the time scale of diagnoses to the operation was only short but it seemed like forever. 
“The company I work for have very supportive and were in regular contact throughout my illness so I was off work for approximately six months and was then put on light duties on a phased return to work duties.
“I would urge anyone that is diagnosed with a brain tumour to speak about it because the worst thing anyone can do is suffer in silence. I would be more than glad to share/talk about my experience with anyone and encourage them to just stay positive.

Hard work post-op but Carl battled through

Post-surgery was hard because I had trouble with my speech, my memory; I was tired all the time, couldn’t walk very far, was struggling with anxiety and generally de-motivated - but two weeks after coming out of hospital I started to get my motivation back and began doing light cardio work in the gym and started walking a little bit further every day.
I thought "this isn’t going to beat me," and day by day, week by week, I grew stronger with the encouragement and support of my family and friends, self-motivation and getting my driving licence back was a confidence boost.

Back in action and the chance to pursue his sporting aims

"I gradually returned to my club and I am very lucky that I have brilliant assistant trainers in Sian Rees and Kaycee Blake, who have both gained their level three assistant coaches' award and did a brilliant job of keeping the club going when I was ill.
"We also have women's fitness three times each week (with 15 regular members), plus seniors' boxing sessions four times a week, Junior sessions held twice a week, where there are similar numbers, so things are going well- and I'm hoping that eventually we will start turning out Welsh champions as they grow in experience because the enthusiasm and commitment is already there.
"My two young nephews Kieran (10) and Logan (6) already come as often as they are allowed and really enjoyed being part of a club with a real 'family' atmosphere.

And finally . . .

"What pleases me most is that we also have some youngsters with special needs for whom our two sports allow them to gain in self-esteem and respect - and one of our aims is to keep kids off the streets and doing something positive."
We can only say that Carl Keane is the perfect example of staying positive and we wish him many more years of involvement at Dockers ABC because he really is a shining example to others!
** Carl and Co can be visited on Face Book at - Keano Carl (Dockers Boxing)**