Ex-British champion Anthony Small cleared of Syria plot

Phil Jay 28/07/2015

Ex-boxer Anthony Small and two other men have been found not guilty of attempting to leave the UK to fight alongside Islamic State in Syria.

The 34 year-old, who held the British and Commonwealth titles at super welterweight in 2009, was tried at the Old Bailey over accusations that Small acquired false documents in a bid to join the controversial Islamic radical group.

Once known in boxing circles for his self-titled nickname of ‘Sugar Ray Clay Jones Jr’, Small was a flashy and entertaining fighter until hanging up his gloves in 2010 on the back of a defeat to Sam Webb. Small then became known more for views outside the ring than his once promising boxing career.

In a UK court on Tuesday, Small and his co-accused Michael Coe, 34, and 44 year-old Simon Keeler, were all cleared of the charges against them after initially being arrested in Dover trying to leave the country in the back of a lorry.

The jury heard how Small, who has posted racially motivated material online, had begun selling his boxing memorabilia in a bid to raise funds for his trip.

The Londoner has avoided jail time after the charges against the trio failed to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.