Coventry & Warwickshire

Errol Christie: Tributes to 'hugely talented' boxing champ

Frank Bruno Image copyright Twitter
Image caption Frank Bruno said he was "very, very saddened" to hear about Christie's death

Frank Bruno has led tributes to champion boxer Errol Christie, who has died after battling lung cancer.

The former European middleweight title winner's death was announced on Sunday by his nephew, Derby and Republic of Ireland footballer Cyrus Christie.

Bruno said he was "very, very saddened" to hear about the death of such a talented man. Chris Eubank described him as "one of the old masters".

Christie, 54 and from Coventry, is the only Briton to win 10 amateur titles.

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He captained England in amateur boxing between 1980-83, and in 1982 was crowned U-19 European amateur champion in East Berlin, described as a rare win for a British amateur at the time.

Image copyright Getty/Mike Powell /Allsport
Image caption Christie (left), here fighting Mark Kaylor in 1985, battled cancer for two years

His family described him as a "very, very special man" who was loved by many. He fought the disease for two "long" years.

Image copyright Rex Features
Image caption Derby and Republic of Ireland defender Cyrus Christie announced his uncle's death on Sunday

Christie, who turned professional in 1982 and was seen as Britain's finest amateur talents, spent his final days with his son who had been caring for him.

A crowd-funding page has also been set up ahead of his funeral.

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Boxing legend Barry McGuigan also paid tribute to the "hugely talented" fighter.

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BBC boxing pundit Steve Bunce said Christie was British boxing's finest amateur boxer and turned professional live on television in 1982.

"No British boxer at that time had ever been under pressure quite like Errol when he turned professional," he said.

"He was expected to win multiple world titles and become the greatest British boxer in history - it was simply a matter of time.

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"It started to go wrong in just his 14th fight. Errol was just 21 at the time. The dream was over but he fought for another 10 years.

"He was one of the nicest and kindest boxers I have met in the sport."

Errol Christie's career

Christie is in the Guinness Book of Records for winning 10 British amateur titles.

His final professional fight record stands at 41 - 32 wins, eight defeats and one draw.

He split £82,500 with Mark Kaylor for their 1985 fight at Wembley Arena - a record for a non-title fight at the time.

His last fight was in 1993 at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester where he lost to Trevor Ambrose in the second round.

During this career, he was ITV's main boxing attraction, often in publicity shots with the stars of the channel's light-entertainment shows. There is a famous picture of hundreds of ITV stars and at the back, topless and waving a Union flag, is Errol.

After retiring, he sold baby clothes at Lewisham Market.

Source: Steve Bunce

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