Thursday, May 13, 2010

Former boxing champion speaks out

"Errol Christie will always remember 5 November 1985. His arrival in the ring at Wembley Arena to fight Mark Kaylor in a final eliminator for the British middleweight title was greeted by a prolonged volley of abuse. It came from what an editorial in Boxing News had called "the extreme right wing fascist element in Britain, an element which is represented in Kaylor's home territory of West Ham"."
So opens Chris Arnot's extensive profile of the former boxing champion in Wednesday's SocietyGuardian, which follows on the heels of the launch of Christie's autobiography No Place to Hide.

Christie's formative years were marked by violent battles fought against racists in and around the predominantly white Coventry estate where he grew up. The fortitude garnered from such a rough upbringing was what propelled Christie, now 46, into an amateur boxing career which then became a three-year term as captain of the English boxing team. His success peaked in 1983 when he was crowned European champion. Unfortunately, this event induced much violent indignation among Christie's compatriots - compatriots who felt the man, a foreign alien in their eyes, had no right to represent their country. In fact, the colour of Christie's skin was an issue right up to the end of his boxing career in 1985 when he was defeated by Kaylor.

Christie now trains white-collar professionals on how to box. He also dedicates much of his time giving talks on discipline and self-respect in schools and community centres across the country.

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