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Tony Wilson looking for the future champion

Wolverhampton | Sport | Published:

Wolverhampton's last British champion Tony Wilson is scouring fight nights to find a successor he can train to fill his boots.

It's been over 25 years since Wilson bossed the domestic light heavyweight division boxing out of the city,

writes Craig Birch.

It came after a successful amateur career, which landed him two senior ABA national titles and took him to the 1984 Olympic Games.

He fell one fight short of a medal after a controversial quarter-final defeat in Los Angeles, before punching for pay under Frank Warren's banner and the tutelage of Jimmy Tibbs.

That journey led him to a two-year run as British title holder from 1987 to 1989, along with one of the most controversial finishes to a fight ever that year.

Wilson took on Steve McCarthy in an eight-rounder amid crowd abuse he believes was racist but, even then, no one could have foreseen what would happen next.

His Mum, Minna, jumped into the ring and clocked McCarthy, who was left with a head wound that forced the finish, with a stiletto shoe just three rounds into the fight. It's now a Youtube hit.

Mama said knock you out - the legendary moment Minna got involved in Tony Wilson's fight against Steve McCarthy

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He later travelled back to the United States to compete professionally before hanging up his gloves in 1993, after an undoubtedly stellar career.

Now 50, he's is stunned no one has taken up his mantle, with Dean Harrison the last Wulfrunian to challenge for a British title in 2009.

Wilson ran the rule over the fighters at Richie Carter's Golden Gloves club show, with Carter a fellow national amateur champion and England international in his unpaid days.

He won the 1987 junior ABAs, turning pro at 18 for 12 contests. The 44-year-old businessman from East Park, who runs Energy Seal Conservatories, started his fight factory in 2012.

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Harrison was there, too, along with centurion Arv Mittoo and another former British champion from the Midlands in Neville Brown.

They watched the club's prospects perform at a packed Essington Working Men's Club with Wilson showing off his Lonsdale belt, as his never-ending search for a star of the future goes on.

He said: "I have started to do other things outside of boxing, but I am still involved in the sport and I would like to see somebody do what I have done and better.

"That's what I am looking for, someone with that potential, that I can train to a high standard from someone who had 115 fights altogether.

"I had 81 as an amateur and I only lost 14 before going pro where I won 20 out of 29, losing eight and drawing once. I know the ring inside out.

"I am older and wiser, I could have been better than I was and it's something that bothers me. I want to put something back into boxing, but I won't be here forever."

Always had his number - Watch Tony Wilson knock out Brian Schumacher for a second time with the British light heavyweight title on the line.

Brown, from Burton-on-Trent and another Lonsdale belt holder, went within a round of taking Steve Collins the distance for the WBO world title.

He, too, is turning his hand to training and mentoring and has his own theories on what it takes to succeed in and out of the ring.

The 49-year-old said: "I didn't know what to do with myself when I finished boxing. It's my sport, but I am more about life skills.

"It's important to know how to handling winning and losing, whatever you are doing. Energy is also nothing without motivation and drive.

"I have put a programme together where no one gets hurt, it's all about learning. I never knew how to sell myself when I was fighting. When I won the British title, I was on the dole!

"I've always loved boxing and you couldn't get me out of the gym, but my upbeat approach to life is now what I am about.

"And, when you step through the ropes, it's all about timing and how to attack, operate and control yourself. Anybody can get in a fight, but it takes more to show skill.

"That's psychology you can apply to anything."

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