Wigan man stepping into the ring to KO cancer

Chris Gaskell (left) is getting into the ring in memory of friend Steve (right) who passed away earlier this year
Chris Gaskell (left) is getting into the ring in memory of friend Steve (right) who passed away earlier this year

A Wigan man will step into the ring in memory of a friend who died of cancer earlier this year.

Chris Gaskell hopes to raise thousand of pounds for charity through an exciting boxing event in memory of Steve O’Connor, who died after a battle with cancer.

The 34-year-old was left heartbroken by the death of Steve, a 39-year-old father-of-three from Orrell, and now wants to honour him by re-staging an event that they both organised three years ago.

It was in 2015, before Steve was diagnosed with cancer, that the pals raised £4000 for Cancer Research UK through a boxing night - a sport neither of them had ever taken part in before.

Now, Chris is in the midst of an intense training course as he prepares to step into the ring once again in honour of his best friend, and to raise more money.

Chris, from Norley Hall, says he has “got to do this” for him and will wear the blue vest that Steve fought in three years ago - which hasn’t been washed since!

He will also wear the same boots they shared at the last event, which he had to frantically give to Steve after he won his bout.

Chris, a dad-of-two, had been lifelong friends with roofer and huge rugby fan Steve, who died in March.

He had been diagnosed with bowel cancer in October 2016.

The event in his memory will take place the DW Stadium on November 10, in front of his friends, family, and hundreds of spectators.

He is currently training with Ultra White Collar Boxing, which trains people with no experience and raises money for Cancer Research UK with bouts at fund-raiser events.

Chris said: “Steve was down to do the first one and asked me to do it with him, it ended up being one of the best experiences of my life.

“For someone that has never stepped foot inside a ring before, it was absolutely exhilarating. It was the most incredible feeling.

“He was 39 when he passed, that’s no age at all, it was such a shame. He fought it and fought it but eventually it took him in March this year.

“I’m heartbroken, I’ve known him my whole life and he was my best mate.

“I got engaged this year and I’m getting married next year but he’s not going to be around for it - he would have been my best man.

“He was a great dad to his kids, too.”

Chris added: “It’s going to be an emotional event, definitely. Steve is always with us.”

Tickets for the event can be purchased by visiting eventbrite.co.uk and searching “Ultra White Collar Boxing Wigan 10.11.2018”.

Chris has also set up an online fund-raiser to help boost the donations total. Donations can be made at justgiving.com/chris-gaskell2