Alan Minter: Crawley Boxing Club rocked by legend's untimely death

Crawley Boxing Club have been rocked by the untimely death of the town's favourite son Alan Minter.
Alan Minter when he was given the freedom of LondonAlan Minter when he was given the freedom of London
Alan Minter when he was given the freedom of London

The former undisputed Middleweight champion of the World lost his brave fight with cancer last week, leaving not just the club, but the whole town in shock and grief.

Alan, 69, started his career as an 11 year old schoolboy boxer with the famous old Crawley club, and stayed loyal to the club for not just his time in the ring, but for his whole life.

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After winning a host of junior titles southpaw Minter went on to win the national ABA crown in 1971 and selection for the Great Britain team at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. After being robbed of victory in the semifinals against the German boxer Alan returned to Crawley with the bronze medal, and soon turned professional.

However Alan's path to world glory was not an easy one, early in his professional career he lost three fights inside of six months, all due to cuts around the eyes.

But Minter came back an even stronger and more determined fighter, with the attitude " If I don't want to get cut then don't get hit in the first place ".

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That proved to be the springboard to his unprecedented success, he won the British middleweight title, and the much coveted Lord Lonsdale belt. Minters old for in the domestic division was the cockney Kevin Finnigan, three times these warriors clashed over the old championship distance of 15 rounds, with Alan coming out on top on points on all three occasions.

In 1977 he travelled to Italy to challenge Germano Valsecchi for the European title, and promptly knocked out the Italian in five rounds to add the British crown. Gratien Tonna took Minters European crown off of him later that year in Milan but in 1978 he again travelled to Italy to attempt to regain the title, now held by Angelo Jacopucci.

Minter regained his title by knocking out the Italian in 12 rounds, but sadly the beaten Jacopucci died a few days later due to his injuries sustained in the bout.

Minter went on an unbeaten run the following year and was rewarded in March 1980 with a crack at the world title. Once again he had to travel to the champions home country for his opportunity, this time to Las Vegas and the mecca of boxing, Caesars Palace. His opponent Vito Antuofermo was an overwhelming favourite to retain his title, but after 15 non stop rounds and a split decision the world had a new undisputed champion. Alan Minter from Crawley was the champion of the world.

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Antuofermo demanded a rematch, Minter gave him one in London and this time gave no room for debate, knocking out the American in eight rounds.

Sadly in September his reign came to an end at the destructive fists of the iconic Marvellous Marvin Hagler. The American stopping Alan in three rounds due to shocking cuts around both eyes.

The following year Alan retired with a magnificent career record of 39 wins, 23 by knock out . He returned to his boyhood club and was named as club president, a post he held with honour, loyalty and integrity.

Alan leaves two sons Ross and George, brother Micky and their families. He also leaves a legacy in the world of sport that will never be surpassed.

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