A Fighting Heart


Year: 2012
Country: IRELAND
Run Time: 57 minutes

No one expected Johnny Kilbane to become a champion boxer. As a scrawny youngster, he sang and danced and dreamed of being an actor or gymnast. He worked hard from an early age as a switchboy on the railroad, supporting his family after his dad went blind. But when he witnessed his first boxing match as a teen, everything changed for Kilbane. He was mesmerized by it. And he realized the profits it could yield. On the spot he knew what he needed to do. Years later, after winning the championship fight against Abe Attell in 1912, Kilbane became a hero to his hometown of Cleveland, Ohio. The Irish immigrant community in which he was raised beamed with pride. Kilbane's determined spirit continued on long after his days in the ring as he also went on to have a successful career in local politics. A FIGHTING HEART is an inspiring story about a man who never sold himself short, even if the odds weren't always in his favor. – E.F.

CIFF37 Screenings

Sunday, April 07, 2013 at 9:30 PM

Monday, April 08, 2013 at 7:20 PM
This screening is on Stand By.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013 at 11:40 AM

Local Heroes Competition

Related Daily Postings
A Light on Cleveland's Past
Rags to Riches in the Ring: An Interview with Des Kilbane

Des Kilbane

Mike Keane

Des Kilbane, Andrew Gallimore

Andy Smith

Director Bio
Des Kilbane is a documentary filmmaker from West Region, Ireland. Besides directing, he's also worked as a camera man on films like "The Gentleman Prizefighter," which was narrated by Liam Neeson.

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Print Source

Midas Productions



This film is presented with the generous support of ANNIE and MIKE HANKS

Film Sponsor

Collins & Scanlon LLP

Community Partner

Cleveland Public Library

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