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sport of luck Adopted son finds out from Irish family his dad is famous boxing commentator and is heir to £200m fortune

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Bob Sheridan covered the Rumble in the Jungle

Bob Sheridan covered the Rumble in the Jungle

Bob Sheridan covered the Rumble in the Jungle

A man who was adopted as a baby has become the sole heir to a £200 million (€2.43 million) fortune after his extended birth family in Galway told him he was the son of legendary American boxing commentator, Bob Sheridan. 

Simon Edwards (40) a supporter of Hitchin Town Football Club in Hertfordshire who lives with his adoptive parents, is preparing to visit his 76-year-old celebrity dad, who is known as ‘The Colonel’ at his £145m (€169 million) home in Las Vegas.

Sheridan, the Boston-born journalist who covered the Rumble in the Jungle between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman in 1974, is a household name in America.

His son reached out to him through an agency as the celebrated boxing commentator laid his wife of 26 years, Annie, to rest.

Simon’s incredible journey started when he discovered that his birth mother Rosemary, who died in 1985 when Simon was five, was from Co Clare.

She had met Mr Sheridan while working in a hotel where he was staying on holiday in 1980.

Simon was born in Newham east London and handed over to a Catholic church. He was later put up for adoption and British Aerospace scientist Mike Edwards and his wife Sue, a healthcare worker, took him in.

Simon still considers them to be his “real parents” but the cost controller who also works part-time as a steward for Hitchin Town FC told how his adventure unfolded.

“My adopted parents are from Irish and Liverpool backgrounds, and I grew up in Hitchin. I hadn't really looked at getting in touch with my birth parents,” he told his local newspaper, the Hitchin Comet.

“I took a trip to Galway in 2019, and it was through a genealogy site I tracked some family down.

“My birth mum passed away in 1985, she had nine sisters and one brother - huge family out there - and they filled me in. It was a lovely trip, they really accepted me as part of the family.”

He was told the unmarried hotel manager was one of nine daughters from the same Catholic family who had travelled to London to give birth after falling pregnant.

It was then he learned his father was the famous multi-millionaire who had just become a widower.

“I just emailed him to say I was sorry for his loss,” Simon recalled. “From there, he asked for my number and we have been speaking on the phone every day.

“To other people it must seem amazing that this famous person is my dad, but for me it's amazing to just know who my dad is and be in touch with him.

“I'd probably still be as blown-away if he was a plumber from down the road.”

Simon has been inundated with messages of support from celebrities including Jennifer Lopez and Angelina Jolie.

“All of a sudden all these superstars who are friends of his want to meet me,” Simon said.

“I went to Irish professional boxer Steve Collins's house, and it turns out he knew my mum as well, and have had other big names get in touch."

The father-of-two, who now calls himself 'The Colonel Jr' is preparing to fly out to meet his famous dad for the first time.

“It’s so exciting to have all these plans to fly to America and meet him and make him part of my life,” he added.

“And of course it’s totally surreal to be getting messages from people like Angelina Jolie.

“But if I’m honest, I’ve managed to bag a place stewarding at Wembley for the European Championship - and I’m a bit worried all this might get in the way.”

He added: “My mum and dad here are over the moon - they’ve always said if I wanted to find them they would be behind me.”

His birth father who is known for his booming baritone that has made him one of sports most famous voices, has covered more than 10,000 fights including 100 heavyweight title bouts.

The world-famous boxing commentator insists he didn't know Rosemary became pregnant

“I was lost for words when I was told, I have spent every day on the phone with Colonel Jnr,” he said.

“It has given me a new lease of life and I’m looking forward to the reunion with junior in Las Vegas later this year.

“I can’t wait to just have a beer with my son and getting to know him. I love him more than words express.

“I had just buried my wife,” he added. “I was besides myself when the chaplain from my military regiment said to me, ‘I know you feel cheated by the Lord, but remember he only gave his own son 33 years on this Earth'.

“I got home and had a Guinness and I really felt like I had nothing left in my life.

“Then I got a call from an agency saying, ‘You have a 41-year-old son - and I said ‘are you sure?’

“They said all you have to do is see him once and you’ll know he’s your son. He looks just like you, he’s a great athlete like you.

“I was thinking, an hour ago I had nothing to live for - now I have a son.

“I asked how did this happen? Then I remembered this lovely girl I had been dating before I met my wife.

“She was the manager of the Shannon Shamrock hotel where I had my farm there.

“Rosie told me I could go into the hotel for whatever I needed, a shower, food - anything.

“I asked her what would she get out of it? And she said, ‘I want you’.

“It seemed like a simple request for the likes of me and we were lovers and that’s when Simon was conceived.”

The Colonel added: “The first time I spoke to him I knew he was my boy. He sounds like me, he talks the same way as me.

“My sports number was always six, Simon told me he played high level cricket and football and his number was always six.

“Even down to the number on our uniforms we were the same.

“It’s just been such a blessing, I can’t wait to meet him and take him to meet my brother’s family in Boston.

“I only wish my wife had lived to see our son.”

“It is an inspiration in life for me,” he added. “They took away my wife and the same day they gave me my long-lost son. I had no idea this boy existed.”

The Colonel, who was given the nickname due to his rank in the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company of Massachusetts, now says he is looking forward to meeting his new grandchildren, Keira (9) and Scarlette (4).

As Sheridan didn't have any children with his wife, Simon is entitled to inherit his entire fortune.

The Colonel said the relationship had been confirmed by DNA, making Simon the “only heir to my fortune”.

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