Katie Taylor makes brave Carlow teenager’s dream come true with Make-A-Wish Ireland

Billy Konsoulas, who was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer, met his hero minutes after boxing champion’s latest title fight

Brave Carlow teenager meets his hero Katie Taylor

Aisling Bolton-Dowling

World boxing champion Katie Taylor made a wish come true for a Carlow teenager suffering from a rare form of cancer.

Billy Konsoulas (15) is a talented boxer from Fenagh, County Carlow. He has boxed for seven years in Paulstown Boxing Club in Kilkenny and has won many battles in the ring.

Billy is now facing a new battle outside of the ring after he was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma in September of this year.

Billy has always dreamed of watching Katie Taylor fight in person, so his mum Catherine contacted Make-A-Wish Ireland to ensure his dream became a reality.

Billy Konsoulas and Katie Taylor after the fight. Photo: Make-A-Wish Ireland

As Katie Taylor geared up for her big match in the 3Arena against her opponent Chantelle Cameron, Billy got suited and booted ready to cheer on his hero in her redemption match.

As part of his Make-A-Wish weekend, Billy was brought to Detail Menswear in Carlow and fitted out with a new suit so he could watch the match in style. On Friday, Billy and his family arrived at the weigh-in and he had the chance to meet Eddie Hearn, the notorious boxing promoter who is chairman of Matchroom Sport.

"We met Eddie at the weigh-in which happened the day before the fight. There was also a UFC fighter there walking one of the lads out because he was the third last fight so we got a picture with him on Friday too,” explained Billy

“On Saturday was fight day so we got to the 3Arena and we were shown around backstage. We then went to our seats and we watched all the fights from then on. For Katie’s fight the arena was packed and the atmosphere was brilliant.

"When Katie was announced the winner after her fight the whole crowd went mental, it was a great experience.”

Little did Billy know that his once-in-a-lifetime experience was not going to end. There was one final surprise for Billy, as Katie came down from the ring to speak to him right after her historic win.

"She came over and we were talking to her. She was really nice,” said Billy. I didn’t think she would just be walking around amongst everyone so it was a great experience getting to meet her right after her fight.

"She would also know my coach from boxing because his son would of been in the Olympics at the same time with her.”

Billy’s mum Catherine, his dad Petros and his little sister were also wowed by the experience.

“Katie was so humble. She came over and still had all the sweat on her face and the blood from the fight. When she’s talking to you, she’s talking to you, she was so humble and she had her attention completely on you. This was very impressive considering she was after winning that fight. I thought it was quite incredible that she would do that and that made it even more special for Billy,” explained Billy’s mum Catherine.

The experience allowed Billy and his family a break from the cancer diagnosis and the difficulties the family faced over the last two months were momentarily forgotten about.

"The whole weekend was so special. For 48 hours we were free of everything. From Friday when we went up to the weigh-in the atmosphere was just electric with the music and seeing different people. Then going back to the hotel and then getting ready on Saturday and meeting Bella from Matchroom who brought us backstage and showed us to our ringside seats. The whole experience was a complete escape,” enthused Catherine.

"The fact we could all experience it together as a family made it so special for us. Most people wait until the end of their Cancer journey to do Make-A-Wish but we did it right at the start. All Billy wanted was to meet Katie, he didn’t want material things he wanted this experience.

"He now has the memory of meeting Katie in his head so he can he can pull that out now anytime when he needs it when he’s up in Crumlin and so can we”.

Billy agreed with his mum and said that it was a memory the family would always share together. “It’s really nice to look back on and how much we enjoyed it as a family together.”

Not only will Billy always have this memory to help him get through the tough days of his cancer journey, but it also gave him motivation to get back in the ring when he is well enough.

“Seeing the whole setup for real and not on the telly makes me want it even more now,” said a determined Billy.

Billy has taken all he has learnt from boxing and is facing the diagnosis head on with the same determination he uses in the boxing ring.

Catherine said: “He told me after the fight ‘mother its been confirmed, you’re going to see me on this stage one day’.

"I’m so proud of him, he’s incredible and even before all of this happened he was just determined and worked so hard and he takes feedback very, very well from his coaches or from us. He’s is quite incredible really and to put the diagnosis on top of this, it’s like it was preparing him to shoulder this.

"Even though he can’t box at the moment he still goes down to the boxing club to see his friends. His trainers and friends are all waiting to see him. I think that shows him as well that there are so many people behind him. He’s loved so much and by so many different people for different things not just boxing.

"A day after Billy received his cancer diagnosis, his football team were playing in the county final. Billy wasn’t well enough to play but still showed up and captained the team only one day after he learnt about his diagnosis.”

At only 15 years of age Billy is a shining example of how not to let bad news dictate your life and get in the way of doing something you love.