23rd February 2012
Former boxer Errol Christie was one of the most gifted British amateurs to
lace on the gloves.
He won an European amateur belt as the captain of the
England team from 1980-83 and was hugely touted by most as
destined to be a successful professional and future world champion.
But the paid ranks were not as kind to the Coventry boy, who was born in Leicester. He was hit by leg-muscle problems and too many tough
fights, not least the infamous loss to Mark Kaylor at Wembley Arena in
1985, put an end to his aspirations of reaching the top.
Christie like the rest of us, watched with an open mouth of disappointment and sadness the events that un-folded at the post fight press conference in Munich last Saturday night, when Dereck Chisora and David Haye came to blows.
My main concern is for all of you out there running ABCs
and making so many sacrifices to help young people. You deserve better
than this.” – Errol Christie
The fracas has been witnessed on main stream TV around the world, and our sport has been dealt a blow, in terms of Pugilism being a disciplined gentlemanly sport, neither were shown by the two British fighters, and to do it in Germany, was surreal.
Christie who is an ambassador for boxing now and does great work in encouraging and working with youngsters and getting them into boxing and out of in some cases violent surroundings and lifestyles. So when two of the most famous and recognisable faces in our sport, act like they did, it upset Christie, who feels like the hard work and dedication that he and many other amateur boxing coaches and guardians do to promote, encourage and help kids, as been knocked and been given a bad image.
“My name has been mentioned in some of the coverage about the Chisora and Haye bust up so I want to make my position clear.” said Christie.
“I’ve visited lots of amateur boxing clubs over the last two years and met some great people trying to keep kids off the streets and away from gang and gun culture. – I’ve been in to schools myself to teach kids how to box but also keep their noses clean. So what sort of an example are these two setting to today’s kids? – And what kind of an image does this leave the sport with?
“Oh but Errol, some might say, you had a bust up with Kaylor? Let me be clear. I’m not proud of that day back in 1985. But there were black v white tensions that don’t exist like they did back then.” added Christie.
After being retired for 17, Christie published his autobiography in 2010, ‘No Place To Hide’, a best selling and griping book written with Tony McMahon. It covers the ups and downs of his career and the fights that were to have a lasting effect on him as a man. It also charts the appalling racism he experienced as a child growing up in Coventry, one of eight children of immigrant Caribbean parents.
Christie one of the most gifted British amateur boxers to lace on the gloves, won an amateur European belt as the captain of the England team from 1980-83, He was highly touted by most and seemed destined to be a successful professional and future world champion.
But he was hit by leg-muscle problems and too many tough fights, not least the infamous loss to Mark Kaylor in 1985. The fight happened one month after the Broadwater Farm Estate riot in Tottenham, in which PC Keith Blakelock was murdered, the contest became a detestable white-supremacy contest for some of east Londoner Kaylor’s more excitable fans. Errol talks about the fight in the video below. – Christie’s eventual retirement came in 1993
“My fight was just a month after the Broadwater Farm riots – think about that. There’s no reason for these to have taken swings at each other. No reason at all.
“My main concern is for all of you out there running ABCs and making so many sacrifices to help young people. You deserve better than this.” added Christie.
An Extra treat! – Here is Errol’s interview with Steve Bunce about his Autobiography ‘No Place to Hide’
Errol Christie Fact File:
1976 to 1985: Boxed for Standard Triumph ABC, 80 fights (lost only 1 fight)
1976: Warwickshire championship
1977: Warwickshire champion, schoolboy champion
1978: Warwickshire champion, schoolboy champion, NABC champion
1979: Warwickshire champion, schoolboy champion, NABC champion, Junior champion
1980: Warwickshire champion, schoolboy champion, NABC champion, Junior champion
1981: NABC champion, Senior ABA Champion
1983: European Champion
NB – Won 10 ABA National Championships
Captain of England 1980 – 1983
1983: Won Gold Medal at European Championships – Best stylist & Best fighter of the Championships
1984 to 1992: Turned Professional. Regular fights on TV(Featured regularly on ITV Fight Night with Gary Newborn).
By Chris Maylett
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