The World Boxing Council and Commonwealth Boxing Council have paid tribute to Britain’s Alan Minter as the former middleweight champion has passed away.
Alan, who died of cancer at the age of 69, was a boxing icon and beloved in the United Kingdom, winning British, European and world championships at 160 pounds.
Alan traveled to Las Vegas to dethrone Vito Antuofermo in March 1980. Then he repeated the victory three months later. That same year he faced Marvin Hagler being defeated. He finished his career in 1981 with a record of 39 wins and 9 losses. Alan was part of the historic WBC Night of Champions event, held in Cardiff in 2010.
The entire family of the World Boxing Council and its President Mauricio Sulaimán, extend their deepest sympathy and condolences to Alan’s family and friends.
Rest in peace champion!
I am grateful to my old Crawley ABC clubmate, Bob Edgeworth, for letting me know about the death this morning of our Club’s outstanding star, former undisputed Middleweight Champion of the World, Alan Minter.
Although Alan and I were friendly enough in those days, we were never particularly close as he was a boy from the New Town whereas I lived out in the Sussex countryside. In later years we did become good friends through meeting up at dinners, tournaments, Ex-Boxer’s Associations etc. Bob was always a close friend of his and a schoolmate.
Sparring with him was never a joy but it was an education. He never went all out, at least not on me but when I saw him for the first time in 1967 in an actual bout, I was very glad it was not me in there with him.
Although Crawley has existed as a town for centuries, being a coach stop between London and Brighton, in the late 1950’s it became one of the UK’s first ‘New Towns’, expanding rapidly into the countryside and thousand of Londoners who had been bombed out during the War made new homes there.
Alan was the first famous person to come from there, and was a star there from about the age of 15 always with a large following. His Dad, Sid, who also died just a matter of weeks ago, was well-known in the town and was always able to sell plenty of tickets for home shows.
His contests were reported in the local press and I remember one description of him after he had stopped a Western Counties Junior Champion as ‘…the Langley Green schoolboy with the choirboy’s face and the docker’s punch…..’
As an amateur senior he won the ABA Lightmiddleweight Championship and went on to a dream debut for England against Ireland as an international. The headline in the report the next day in the article by Donald Saunders in the ‘Daily Telegraph’ went something like ‘New boy Minter rescues England’.
In 1972 he represented Great Britain in the Munich Olympics, coming home with a bronze medal, but almost certainly being robbed of a gold after a poor hometown judge’s decision in the semi-
finals against German Dieter Kottych.
From the time I first knew him, Alan always had the habit of grunting when throwing punches and after being warned by a referee about this in an earlier contest in Munich, he acquired the nickname, ‘Boom Boom’.
After the Olympics, he turned pro with his father-in law, former Crawley ABC Competition Secretary, Doug Bidwell, as his manager.
After winning his first 11 contests, he went on to lose 4 out of the next 7, always on cuts, a problem he had since his Junior ABA days and a problem which recurred throughout his career. He went on to have some tough matches, winning most including 3 wars against former Junior ABA opponent, Kevin Finnegan, but always bouncing back after losses.
His big chance came in 1980 when he went to Las Vegas and defeated reigning World Champion, Vito Antuofermo, on points, a decision deemed controversial in the USA, but which seemed quite clear over here.
I had a friend who was a Sound Supervisor for London Weekend Television, which broadcast the match in the early hours in the UK and he got me access into the studio to watch it live, sitting out of shot but not too far from World Lightweight Champion, Jim Watt, and manager, Terry Lawless, who were commentating for the TV.
He made no mistake in the return, stopping Antuofermo in 8 rounds, probably his best performance.
One of the few things I was able to do for Alan, who received the WBC World Championship Belt after winning the Title was about 20 years later, when I persuaded the WBA to send me their Belt, which he had never received before.
It was presented to Alan by my old friend, Dr ‘Ossie’ Ross, a BBB of C Medical Officer and Steward, in the ring during a tournament at Wembley.
1980 was the most significant year of Alan’s career, winning, defending and then losing the undisputed World Championship within a period of only 6 months.
His loss to all-time great, Marvin Hagler, will almost certainly be the subject of many Alan’s obituaries, being stopped in 3 rounds as a result, as always, of cuts.
Although I would hesitate to suggest that without cuts Alan would have had the beating of Hagler, I firmly believe without them it would have been a much harder contest for the American.
Alan was probably never the same after that contest and after winning 1 and losing 2 , he retired.
Alan had many problems during the following years, marital and others, but I still saw him from time to time. Sometime around 2002, 2003, I met him again when he was guest of honour at a Ross on Wye Rotary Club Dinner Boxing Society function, of which I was a Patron. By then he had got over his difficulties.
Back in Crawley as kids, Alan was always very quiet, never saying too much, so I wondered how he would get on but it turned out he was brilliant. He made a funny, well-prepared presentation which could have gone on much longer, being cut short by the ABA requirement of starting the boxing by a certain time.
I bumped into him again 2018 at a British Boxing Hall of Fame Luncheon and the last time we spoke was sometime after, when he was again going through a hard time and I called him.
Over the years, I have not been backwards in bathing in the reflected glory among my non-boxing friends and associates of having sparred with Alan although I can recall having a chat with someone at ringside years ago about him, and just mentioning that I used to spar with him. The sarcastic response came, ‘ Everyone who comes from Crawley says they use to spar with Alan ! ‘.
Although he has not lived there for years, he really deserves a statue to be erected in his honour in the town.
To some extent, he put it on the map.
To son Ross, daughter Kerry, brother Mickey and all his family my most sincere sympathies.
RIP, old friend.
Commonwealth Boxing Council
WBC Board of Governors