RANDOLPH (CBS) – It is cerebral palsy awareness month and one local man is informing the public by punching people in the mouth.
Early weekend mornings in a Randolph warehouse, Sean “The Champ” McCarthy squats in the ring on two legs that do not work well.
“I’m alright from head down to here (points at waist). The legs are weak,” said McCarthy.
McCarthy has cerebral palsy, a brain injury from birth that he says creates a “lack of oxygen to the brain while you’re being born.”
The Champ started boxing after competing in Mixed Martial Arts street fights, where he dislocated his arm. After visits to the doctor, he was told that he would not be permitted to participate in MMA.
“He would not sign permission form for MMA but he did for boxing,” said McCarthy.
McCarthy got a trainer who helped him work on balance while taking verbal jabs. “I did stumble once but I got back up and my trainer helped me up. He’s really good,” said McCarthy.
Bill Jalbert, McCarthy’s trainer from the Fit Factory, has been training for two years and enjoys assisting The Champ.
“He’s been here three times a week. Killing it every time. He’ actually accidentally hit me one time. Didn’t get knocked out or anything. Got that solid jaw,” said Jalbert.
The trainer admitted that he was hesitant about training a boxer with cerebral palsy.
“It was hard at first. I didn’t really know too much about it,” said McCarthy.
Jalbert says he has studied the movement of McCarthy and deciphered where the boxer needed improvement.
“His balance. For sure. We work a lot on the balance. That’s like every day we do that. A lot of core work. Try to keep him stable, because if you don’t have a solid core, you can’t really stay upright,” said Jalbert.
There’s a story behind McCarthy’s title, “The Champ.” He says his dad, who passed away five years ago gave him that name.
“We used to call him the chief. He found out from someone that I was boxing, so I was just about to leave his room and he was like bye Champ. “I’ve always carried that name with me.”
The 46-year-old boxer says when he first started boxing twelve years ago, many people doubted him.
“You’re crazy, you’re nuts. A lot of people didn’t believe me,” said McCarthy.
The Champ is undefeated with a record of 11-0. The boxer says his opponents never cared that he had cerebral palsy.
“I can be normal in the ring. I go crazy in the ring. I got a left, right hook, that’ll take you down,” said McCarthy.
“What I do is, I get you in the corner and just start hammering you.”
Although people did not believe him, McCarthy said a lot of people came to his fights, including his priest and doctor.
“I got hurt here. I dislocated my shoulder. I didn’t cry. I was in pain.”
After dislocating his shoulder, he was given a shot and his shoulder was put back in place.
McCarthy immediately asked, “How long do I have to wait to go back to boxing?”
The Champ says he will not stop fighting until the doctors tell him to stop.
“All I’ve heard is be careful,” said McCarthy.
The boxer admitted to having difficulties but considers himself a tough person.
“I love this sport. I love it. It gets me going. Just boom, boom, boom, boom.”
The Champ has a fight on April 1.