The date marks the two-year anniversary of Kelly's death from a heart attack at the age of 63. His children, Jackie and Ryan, created the IWK Memorial Foundation in 2012 to commemorate his life as a former Vietnam veteran, a prominent boxing referee, physical conditioning specialist and boxer himself.
The foundation's mission is to "keep his memory alive by giving back to the community by providing financial support and volunteer work to those in need." Money raised from the event will be donated to various non-profit organizations and causes that Kelly supported, including Wounded Warriors and Ring 10 Veteran Boxers Foundation.
Wayne Kelly proudly served as a US Army Ranger in Vietnam where he was awarded the Purple Heart. He fought professionally in the 1970’s and began refereeing in 1989. Kelly was the third man in the ring for such fights as Arturo Gatti’s first championship victory (against Tracy Harris Patterson), as well as the dramatic comeback triumph over Wilson Rodriquez when the Gatti legend was essentially born.
He also presided over the infamous heavyweight bout between Riddick Bowe and Andrew Golota in July 1996, disqualifying Golota for excessive low blows that was followed by an ugly riot at Madison Square Garden.
There will not be anything ugly about the event being held in celebration of Kelly's beautiful life, which is expected to be a FUNdraiser.
"If you knew my Dad, you'd know he was always down for a good party," daughter Jackie Kelly said.
Tickets can be purchased for $75 in advance/$100 at the door and includes open bar, hors d'oeuvres, brunch, prizes, DJ and entertainment.
photo courtesy of the Kelly family
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Tags: Andrew Golota, Arturo Gatti, Boxing, Gerry Cooney, Mark Breland, Riddick Bowe, Seanie Monaghan, Wayne Kelly