TRIBUTES have been paid to Coventry-raised UK boxing legend Errol Christie who died yesterday (Sunday) aged 53, after a two-year battle with cancer.
They were led by former Coventry City and now Derby County footballer Cyrus Christie, his nephew.
Cyrus tweeted: “RIP champ legends never die.. heart is broken rest in paradise uncle your not in pain anymore..till we meet again.”
A message from his family on the Crowdfunder website – as an appeal to help raise money for a fitting funeral – reads:
“As most of you know we lost a great boxing champion and special man Errol Christie to a long 2 year battle to cancer yesterday 11 June 2017.
Whilst the world tweets and sends lovely message to a boxer and sport personality, at home he was a kind father, loving grandfather and much much more. He was hardworking and committed to everything he did. When he wasnt working he was volunteering and helping young troubled kids comr off the streets through boxing.
When Errol got ill it came as a shock to so many and as you can imagine was extremely hard for his loved ones to see and this journey has been a tough one for the ones who cared for him everyday.
This page is aiming to raise £5,000 for funeral costs and anything else his family need at this difficult time which will help cause less stress so they can have privacy and try and find peace. No donation is too small so please give what you can!
RIP ERROL, HEAVEN HAS GAINED A SPECIAL ONE.”
Tributes to the respected professional fighter also came from fellow legends of the sport.
Frank Bruno MBE tweeted: “Very very saddened to hear Errol Christie has passed away after a long battle with cancer, God rest his soul. Such a talented man…RIP.”
Chris Eubank tweeted: “Errol Christie one of the old masters of boxing has passed away. I sparred with him many times in our early 20s & he was a sweetheart. RIP.”
Christie was diagnosed with lung cancer in March 2015. He died at St. Christopher’s Hospice in London.
Born in 1963, he was a household name in Coventry and further afield after turning pro’ in 1982 and becoming European amateur champion in 1983.
His bouts regularly featured on national TV.
He moved to London in his late teens after growing up in the Radford area of Coventry, one of seven brothers.
He learned to fight in the city, initially at the Standard-Triumph gym.
He went from being Warwickshire champion in 1976 to England amateur boxing captain from 1980 to 1983. Christie was listed in The Guinness Book of Records as the only British boxer to win all 10 amateur titles.
He won his first 13 professional fights, and went on to suffer occasional defeats in an otherwise glittering career. In 1990, Michael Watson stopped him in the third round at the National Exhibition Centre.
Christie retired from boxing in 1993, working as a market trader for six years.
He went on to be instrumental in so-called ‘white collar boxing’, in which people from professions are encouraged to experience the fight game. He trained TV presenter Dermot O’Leary, ex-Chelsea footballer and manager Gianluca Vialli, Seal, the musician, and many more.
His 2010 biography ‘No Place To Hide’ centred on racism in boxing during the time of his career.