The moment that broke Canberra boxer Ben Dencio’s heart

Canberra boxer Ben Dencio still remembers the moment his world was turned upside down.

It was a phone call at 9:48am on October 18, telling him one of his closest friends had passed away aged just 24.

It was with a heavy heart Dencio improved his professional record to 5-1 when he beat Pakpoom Hammarach (14-22) at Capital Fight Show 13 at the Hellenic Club in Woden on Friday night.

The night was about more than boxing for Dencio, the NSW super featherweight champion who is slowly forcing his way into Australian title contention.

“This one is close to my heart,” Dencio said.

“My mate Jack Darmody, he had a heart transplant when he was two. He was one of the youngest people ever to get a heart transplant.

“He was the little engine that could. He got dealt a horrible hand and at two, he needed a heart transplant straight away. He got that heart transplant and kicked on.

“Then at about seven, he got cancer – hodgkin’s lymphoma – and beat that. At seven, he’d already had a heart transplant and he’d got cancer.”

The heart disease was cardiomyopathy – which means the heart is unable to pump an adequate supply of blood around the body.

So many hoped Darmody had overcome the horrible hand he had been dealt, but the heart disease eventually returned.

“On the 18th of October, at 9:48 in the morning, I got a phone call that changed my life,” Dencio said.

“It started off from someone I hadn’t spoken to in a little while. I knew Jack was sick but I didn’t expect this news. I said ‘hey Ben, how are you doing?’ He said ‘I’ve got some bad news for you’.

“The first thing that popped into my head was ‘Jack is in Sydney, and Jack is in trouble’. That’s not what happened. Ben said ‘Jack’s passed away’, and my world crumbled.

“I’d give anything, I would give up boxing in a heartbeat, I’d give up all the fun toys, the cars and all that sort of stuff, just to have Jack back, no question.”

An emotional Dencio took the chance to call on members of the crowd to sign up to become organ donors, leaving the ring to a rousing applause from the crowd.

He wasn’t asking anyone to sign up because he wanted something from them – all he wanted was to make sure the next person that gets that phone call doesn’t receive the same horrible news.

“All it means is that if you sign this sheet, that phone call that I received on the 18th of October at 9:48 in the morning, could have been ‘Jack’s got another heart’ rather than ‘Jack’s died’,” Dencio said.

“I’ve signed it. If we can save one life, this night is better than boxing and bigger than boxing. I’m going to try and take this opportunity to do something bigger than boxing.”

Dencio captured the hearts of his hometown crowd before settling in to watch fellow Canberra product Beau Hartas (3-0) claim the NSW middleweight championship.

Fan-favourite Hartas was at his scintillating best as he picked apart Lui Guivalu (1-4) to claim the state middlweight crown with an early stoppage.

Steve Lovett (17-2) won what could be his last fight in Canberra via unanimous decision in an eight-round spectacle against Steve Moxon (5-5).

Lovett is looking to relaunch his path to light heavyweight title contention in the United States under the guidance of the legendary Ronnie Shields, with a purist’s dream bout the perfect way to sign off down under.

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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