|The late Jimmy Murphy|
TRIBUTES from amateur boxing clubs all over the country have been paid to Jimmy Murphy, following the death of the dedicated West Ham Boys BC matchmaker who played a key role in developing star boxers over many years at the club’s famous Black Lion Gym.
The man respected as a legend at the club died last week after fighting a long illness.
Many champions past and present are expected to attend his funeral tomorrow (Thursday) at St Margarets Church, 79 Barking Road, E16 4HB at 2.30pm
Respected for his exceptional knowledge of the amateur boxing scene, he was prominent in the development of a string of ABA title winners over three decades, including Dagenham’s Kevin Mitchell and current titleholder Dudley O’Shaughnessy.
An announcement from ABAE headquarters this week paid tribute to the 68-year-old official: “The amateur boxing community has lost a well-loved and dedicated volunteer in West Ham Boys Amateur Boxing Club matchmaker Jimmy Murphy.
“Jimmy was involved in amateur boxing for most of his life and was well known throughout the sport for his passion, commitment and knowledge. The ABAE’s condolences go to his family and friends.
These words were echoed by local club officials, including Dagenham’s Danny O’Sullivan who admitted: “Jimmy was nothing short of a matchmaking genius and always my first port of call for advice – he was the man the man behind West Ham’s phenomenal success.”
Neighbouring Newham club official Joe Chapman recalled: “Jimmy came from a well known family and early on boxed in West Ham colours, but when he took over as matchmaker almost 30 years ago there was not a lot of talent in the gym.
“However, he went to work with coach Mickey May and rebuilt the club to become a conveyor belt of outstanding champions once again.”
National boxing writer and broadcaster Steve Bunce also remembers Jimmy Murphy’s outstanding boxing knowledge.
“Jimmy knew more about amateur boxing and especially the juniors than any person that I have ever met. He knew more about Naseem Hamed than Naseem Hamed knew – I even had to get information for Naz about his amateur career from Jimmy.”
Lianne Jameson, his partner and club secretary, recalls: “Although he knew he was very ill, Jimmy insisted he would be at ringside to see his boys in the National Finals and at our last dinner show in May.
“He even left his wishes for the future of the club that meant so much to him.”
The church service will be followed at East London Cemetery, Grange Road Plaistow at 3.30pm. Although flowers are welcome, if people would prefer to make donations to charity they will be split between West Ham Boys Club and a charity chosen by his doctors.