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The passing of Tony Burns MBE. Tony was the most important man ever to walk into the Repton, he was our Head Trainer for over 40 years, and helped produce over 200 national Champions along with European, Commonwealth and Olympic Champions, Tony was respected world wide, thanks for so much, you will never be forgotten. David Robinson - Chairman
My Tribute to Tony Burns MBE I first met the legendary Tony Burns as a young 16 year old in 1971 when the Repton Boys Club as it was then named, was temporarily based in the Working Man’s Club, Pollards Row, Bethnal Green. A few month later as I turned 17 and joined the seniors and really got to know Tony. Tony was one of a kind. He was sharp witted, had a great sense of humour and as head coach of the Repton Boys Club was fiercely protective of the young men in his charge. Over the years Tony and I became very close and he was very instrumental in my development as both a boxer and also as a young man. Over the years the club travelled extensively across England and Europe, Tony and I would speak about everything and our conversations weren’t just limited to boxing. For me, and not just for me, but for many others, Tony was a number of things; he was a mentor, a father figure, someone to depend on, someone with our best interest at heart. In those formative years travelling to various boxing shows, the length and breadth of the country, we would hone our skills and gain valuable experience. I would inevitably spend more time with Tony than many because I lived closer to him than others, and so he would pick me up first, in his car or mini bus before meeting the others, depending on how many of us might be boxing. We would go to the shows often not getting a bout, but still learning from the experience / occasion before returning home. I would invariably be dropped off last and Tony would continuing his journey home to Babs, Johnny, Tong jnr., Sue and Mark. I have many fond memories of Tony but my stand out memory was when, as a green 17 year old I was summoned to appear at Shoreditch Crown Court on motoring charges. I was travelling home one evening after visiting my then girlfriend, I was stopped by the police and questioned about ownership of the vehicle I was driving and asked to produce my licence, insurance and vehicle registration, which understandably, I didn’t have with me at the time. I was therefore instructed to produce those documents at a nominated police station, which I did, within the stipulated period of time. However, shortly afterwards I was summons to appear at Shoreditch Crown Court on charges of driving without having a license, driving without insurance and failing to produce the required documents to an elected Police Station within the allotted time. I mentioned this one evening in the gym after training and that I was summons to appear in court the following day and Tony immediately enquired, who was attending with me? My answer was no one, I was attending alone. Needless to say, Tony rearranged his day and accompanied me to court, for which I was most grateful. Outside the court, we were approached by the police officer in question, who offered me a deal - pleaded guilty to not producing you details on time and the charges of driving without a licence and insurance would be dropped. I probably would have been tempted to accept that offer, had Tony not been with me. Already knowing the answer, Tony calmly asked if I had produced my details at the station on time. My answer as yes, and Tony promptly informed the police officer that I would not be pleading guilty. Needless to say, all the charges were dropped. My second stand out memory was when Tony made me Club Captain following Graham Moughton’s retirement from the sport. What a honour that was, to be entrusted with leading a team of arguably the best boxers in the world. I was elated and grateful to have this enormous accolade entrusted to me. The accolade of being the club’s first black captain was a huge achievement for me, a positive message to all the young black boys coming through the junior ranks and a milestone in the club’s history of equality and unity. Tony made that happen! Other recent memories of my friendship with Tony, was our last two meetings when he, Andy Prokoop and I met for coffee in a cafe in Wanstead and again at his home in Bonner Street, as usual we discussed times gone by and putting the world to rights, just imagining............ In the words of John Lennon; You may say I'm a dreamer But I'm not the only one I hope someday you'll join us And the world will be as one Imagine no possessions I wonder if you can No need for greed or hunger A brotherhood of man Imagine all the people Sharing all the world... You... Rest In Peace Tony, gone but never forgotten. One day we’ll join you, and the world will be as one!
I walked through the doors of Repton gym in 1970 with my great friend Lennox Bailey, who had come up with the idea that we switch from football to boxing. Though we enrolled in the Junior section of the club, being 13 years old, it took no time at all for us to hear about the head coach of the Seniors-Tony Burns- who had even then attained the status of a Repton icon. Looking back, I have no doubt about the good that I personally, and so many of my friends and club mates, got from Repton; under the tutelage and care of Tony Burns. The benefit of the club to the boys, the community and the society goes much deeper that one can see from the public tournament nights and championship campaigns. Personally, and I believe my own story is similar to many of others that have passed through Repton, I learnt the lessons of a lifetime from Tony in the eight to nine adolescent years that I was at the club. By way of tribute to him, I give below, a random sampling of some of those invaluable lessons that I and I am sure, other boys picked up:. The first and only time that I ever saw the inside of a maximum security jail was when Tony Burns took us to play football against a team put together by a friend of his who was doing time there. The experience not only left us bruised and battered from the ferocious tackling by the inmates; it also showed us first hand that prison was not the place to go to. Just as important however, I also got an insight into what it meant to be truly loyal to a friend. Tony and Repton reinforced for me the value of listening to people, particularly those who were happy to share their knowledge and experience in the form of good advice. One night, after training, Tony said to me, in his own curt and even gruff inimitable way: "You'll be ok because you listen. See that boy over there, he has all the skills and talent but the problem is he doesn't listen." Outside the ring, there is such a different picture of what is going on in it during a bout, and a good coach can tell you exactly what you need to do to win. Shortly after I came to Repton, Jackie Chappell came in as the Coach of the Juniors. He simply lined us all up in the ring and said to us: ‘’Listen to what I tell you and I will make you all champions’’ For those who truly listened, he was as good as his word. A few days before a championship bout, I was in a group of boys talking to Tony Burns and I remember saying in response to something that was said;”I’ll do my best’’ Tony gave me that look of his and said: ‘’Dabs, everybody does their best. It is the ones that do better than their best that become champions!’’ During a club foreign trip to Denmark, we were ordered not to leave our hotel one day because the US Marines stationed in the town were looking for us over an alleged manhandling of two American girls by two of our boys. The allegations were actually much more serious than I care to mention here, and it became a police matter. We actually left for home without them; though they came a day or two later. In discussing the matter on the ferry home, the one thing that has always stayed with me is a statement Tony Burns made that: ‘’there is a very thin line between having a good time and getting in a lot of trouble’’ One lesson that I never could convince myself to accept has to do with money. Whenever we were on long train, coach or boat ride at home or abroad, most of us would play cards-usually for money to make it make it more interesting. Now, Tony would say: ‘’Once you are at the table, don’t think of it as money, just look at it as points.’’ However, when you’re sitting and contemplating the possible loss of all your spending money, even before getting to the destination, it is extremely hard to look at the money as merely points. Till today, I always look at money as money and points as points! While the whole Repton family mourns this sad loss, I'm sure everyone at the club, most particularly the Repton Old Boys, will do all we can to honour his memory by sustaining his work and protecting his legacy. My memory of Tony Burns will always be that he was a warm, kind and generous man; with a wicked sense of humour! The only thing that he loved more than Repton was his wonderful wife Babs (of blessed memory) and family. My condolences go to the children he left behind: Jonny, Tony Jr and Sue.I am sure they are all comforted, at this sad time, by the knowledge that he was a blessing to so many young boxers and people generally. May he rest in peace. Amen
For the last two years the Repton boxing club has been involved with and a strong supporter of the Charity ‘Gloves Up Knives Down’ . The charity is backed by prospective London Mayor candidate Shaun Bailey. The charity works closely with communities across London to provide increased access to boxing facilities and lessons for young people from troubled communities. Mayoral Candidate Shaun Bailey stated: “Having spent 20 years as a youth worker I have seen first-hand how sport can be harnessed to change people’s lives, and Gloves Up Knives Down is a prime example of what can be done. “This is more than just an opportunity to try a new sport. It offers young people hope. Boxing provides discipline, structure and reinforces the value of hard work. Some of these kids may go on to become the next Anthony Joshua, and those that don’t will become assets to their local communities and productive members of society.” Knife crime levels in the UK are the highest on record, with London accounting for 14,725 knife crime offences, a third of all knife crime in the UK.
Police said he was the victim of a "targeted incident" in an alleyway and was then taken to hospital by two people. Luke was rushed to hospital with stab wounds, but died a short time later. Police believe the promising young boxer – who had fought for the iconic Repton Boxing Club in Bethnal Green, East London - was attacked near The Peterboat pub. A murder probe has been launched and two people have been arrested in connection with the incident, cops said. A post-mortem revealed he died from a single stab wound, police have announced. 'TARGETED INCIDENT' Luke’s close friend, Alfie Jackson, 18, had spoken to the tragic teenager just an hour before he was knifed. He had sent Alfie money to buy tickets for the Sundown Festival in Norwich this September once Covid restrictions ends. Heartbroken Alfie said: “I have been friends with him for years. His mum rang me and told me. “His mum is devastated. He loved his mum to bits. I think he got stabbed. No-one really knows what happened at the moment. “It’s terrible. It doesn’t feel real. I was speaking to him an hour before it happened. He sent me money because we were going to book festival tickets. “And now he’s just gone. I was meant to meet him later that day. He had just come back from work. He was working in London doing painting. BOXING FANATIC “He was one of the best boxers for his age. He was an outstanding boxer. He had done it all his life. “He went to a boxing club in London called Repton. He loved boxing.” He added: “Luke was the nicest boy you would ever meet. Always funny, joking, lightening the mood.” Their planned festival trip would have been “light at the end of the tunnel” after months of lockdown. Alfie said: “It still doesn’t feel real. It still feels like he could just give me a call any minute.” Repton chairman David Robinson paid tribute to Luke as a “lovely lad”. He said: “It’s shocking. He was a great lad. Lovely boy. He joined us at 11 years of age. “He has been training with a local club down in Wickford, so we haven’t seen a lot of him lately. As a lad, respectful, polite, loved his boxing. You could not knock the kid at all. “The tragedy it has ended up in is unbelievable. We are extremely shocked. He is one of our boys. We consider ourselves one big family. “There had been an argument earlier in the day and he had got involved in an altercation with these two boys. “Him and another boy started fighting and the other boy jumped in and stabbed him. I have heard it from someone who was down there. “It’s a massive tragedy. He was a top boxer. He was a dedicated lad. He wore the Repton colours in a respectful way.” Police announced extra patrols and last night imposed Section 60 stop and search powers until 2am. Luke and Alfie had attended FitzWimarc school in Rayleigh together and known each other for about nine years, he added. Photos show Luke in his Repton boxing kit after a bout at the National Association of Boys & Girls’ Club Championships London finals in November, 2018. The iconic amateur club has produced hundreds of champions, including Olympic gold medallist Audley Harrison, world Jr Middleweight champion Maurice Hopea and welterweight world champion John H. Stracey. Pals posted touching tributes to the young boxer on social media. Alfie’s sister Jodi Jackson,26, wrote: “It really doesn’t sink in until it hits home. My brother’s best friend, such a character. “With your whole life ahead of you, each of you all turning 18 & planning all the exciting things you may have been able to do this year. “On the phone to my brother yesterday arranging which festivals to go to. “The teenagers that spent one of greatest years of their lives being locked down, not experiencing what 18 –years-olds should be doing such as driving, clubbing & festivals. “Then to have your life taken at a blink of an eye. Luke Bellfield, may your beautiful young soul Rest In Peace and your amazing character live on forever. “You are too loved to be forgotten. How do you begin to comprehend laying an 18 year old to rest.” Another friend wrote: “Rest easy champ till we meet again my brother.” And one hailed him as a “lovely boy and a great fighter”. A 31-year-old man from Westcliff and a 19-year-old man from Rayleigh were arrested on suspicion of causing grievous bodily harm. They remain in custody for questioning. A GoFundMe page has raised more than £650 to help Luke’s family with funeral costs. Police have appealed for witnesses or anyone with mobile phone, CCTV or dash cam footage of the stabbing to come forward. If you wish to donate, click here.https://www.gofundme.com/f/donations-for-luke-bellfield?qid=c8f9a1ac195a853c95efb79b4ff36f4f Donations for Luke Bellfield, organized by Brooklyn Bisson Luke Bellfield dies from stab wound after an attack in Old Leigh town. … Brooklyn Bisson needs your supp...
" Just received the sad news that my old trainer Tony Burns has sadly passed away. I can't tell you what a massive part Tony played in the shaping of my life and hundreds like me. He dedicated his life to amateur boxing and the boys he taught. Boys who came from the streets of London and with Tony's guidance went on into life, becoming writers, actors, policemen, politicians, top guys in the stock exchange, builders and even World Boxing Champions. I last saw Tony when I was shooting a little film at the Repton Boxing Club, then for coffee in Pelicci's in Bethnal Green. Today we lost a legend. A real man of the people. Rest in peace Tony and thank you." Ray Winstone
Tony Burns Eulogy It is with a heavy heart to announce the sad news that our beloved Head Coach Tony Burns MBE has passed away. Tony has had some health problems over the last couple of years. He was diagnosed with dementia in 2015. In february 2019 he had a fall and was taken to hospital for a check up. It was discovered his aortic vein was swollen to 11 cms. At 7cm surgery is imminent. After much consultation it was decided it was too life threatening in his medical condition to undergo surgery. Tony became a walking time bomb. Tony Junior, Johnny and Suzie lived with Tony as 24 hour a day carers for their dad for 18 months, then in came professional carers to take over when it all became too much. I have personally known Tony Burns & his family for over 50 years. We lived in the same neighbourhood and trained at the same boxing club. Tony helped to shape the lives of hundreds of young boxers like myself who went to have decent future careers after being given a foundation of discipline, respect, humility and confidence through boxing. If wasn't for boxing I would never have had a job in the city at the age of 16. When I joined the club I was around 10 years old in 1965. Tony joined & officially became senior trainer at The Repton in 1967. He had an impressive amateur boxing career with the famous south London club Fitzroy Lodge. When Tony was a young boy he was evacuated during the war to Bridgend in Wales where he went to school. This connection earned him his place with the Welsh Boxing team as a senior boxer later on in his career. When he returned to the east end after the war, he joined the Northampton gym, run by his uncle, which was in Cambridge Heath Road. He then went on to box for Fitzroy Lodge with his lifelong friend and former trainer Micky Carney (R.I.P). Tony had an impressive career as an amateur but didn’t want to turn pro as he needed to help his dad with their family business. In his days in the ring Tony was a fearless, impressive fighter who should have won an ABA title and gave future world champion Ken Buchanan one of the hardest fights of his life according to the Scot’s autobiography. When I turned senior from Junior at the club many years ago Tony burns and George Odwell were the Dynamic duo in charge of a huge Senior team with national champions at most weight division in the ABA. Tony was like my Big brother and George was like my second Dad, it was everything a young boxer needs to help them succeed in their chosen sport. Back in those days we were like a travelling circus, driving up and down the motorway to lots of different club shows in Tony’s old van from one county to another. It was a busy Gym which produced many champions. For over the 50 years of service at The Repton Tony has achieved accolades some trainers dream of, for instance during his time at the Repton he has trained over 300 amateur champions, he has been awarded the prestigious ‘Sam Mussabini’ medal and been inducted into the World Coaching Hall of Fame. He has attended with his boxers 11 Olympics, He has met many world champs including the legendary Muhammad Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard. He has trained former World champs & Olympic Gold Medalists such as John H Stracey, Maurice Hope and Audley Harrison and many more amateur & Professional Champs. Tony Burns has dedicated his whole life to Amateur Boxing. He has sacrificed a lot of spare time and family life to produce champions for the Repton. Until Tony's health deteriorated he could still be found most nights of the week at the Repton giving the boxers guidance. Everybody knows of his connection with The Krays and how he was Best man at Reggies Wedding. Tony recalls in an interview with a well known national newspaper…The Krays also passed through the Repton club doors, though Burns says: “They were not really that good as fighters with their fists, but rather with guns and things.” The final crowning glory and accolade presented to Tony was back in January 2009 when he received an MBE award from The Queen for his services to Amateur Boxing Tony Burns made huge personal sacrifices to dedicate his whole life to Boxing. Everybody at the Repton Thanks you for your dedication, Passion and life long service. In the past we shared many great trips, adventures, Good times, success and Victories along the way. Your suffering now is over...Rest in peace my old friend Mark Newman
Congratulations to the 20 London boxers making it through to the National Junior final last weekend. Including 12 from Repton. You have to admit that's impressive...Cadet 54kg PATRIS MUGHALZAI –HooksCadet 57kg SHARHEIM SOMERVILLE – ReptonCadet 63kg FRED MOSS – ReptonCadet 70kg NATHAN HARRIS - ReptonCadet 80kg JOEL JOSEPH – AfeweeJunior 42kg GEORGE ELLIS – ReptonJunior 46kg KHALIL OSMAN – ReptonJunior 48kg DENNIS McCANN – ReptonJunior 50kg BARNEY DOCHERTY – ReptonJunior 52kg SAMEENAH TOUSSAINT - NortholtJunior 54kg BILL OLIPHANT – ReptonJunior 57kg ADAN MOHAMMED – ReptonJunior 60kg CAOLINE DUBOIS – West HamJunior 60kg JACK OLIPHANT –ReptonJunior 63kg MICHAEL BURKE – ReptonJunior 66kg BROOKE EATON – Five StarJunior 66kg PATRICK CONNORS – West Ham Pictured: 57kg finalist Sharheim Somerville with coach Bobby Beck Jnr
London ABA Elite Semi Finals Report & Results March 2017 Ex Repton boxer Viddal Riley, eliminated current club hope Jacob Peterson in the London semi finals at Tottenham on Thursday and took a vital step on England Boxing's Elite title trail. West Ham's Riley stole the show in the top contest on the first night of the championships winning the all east London club battle. Controlling the clash from the opening bell, the 19-year-old heavyweight who won a European medal before being out of boxing through injury for two years, outpointed his game Repton rival. Riley then watched Miguels Ben Vickers beat his clubmate Ifeanyi Ndidi in the other 9lkg semi final and faces Vickers in the final at Harrow on Thursday. Tight decisions went against Repton with two established club favourites losing the closest of 3-2 decisions in the London preliminaries. Long serving Ryan Pickard put up a tough struggle against Double Jab club entry Conor Hinds but it was the south Londoner who took the judges majority verdict in the middleweight clash. Also going out was the Bethnal Green club's lightweight Billy Beer, beaten on another 3-2 scoring by Darren Ballinger from the powerful Islington club. Friday night saw the exit of Repton welterweight hope Romario Wallace as the judges voted for another Islington boxer Lamin Conteh by a 4-1 margin after a keenly fought contest. Ballinger and Conteh both go forward to the London finals at Harrow Leisure Centre while Repton's 86kg walkover winner James Branch awaits his first call to action on the national title trail.
About Repton 1884 The Repton Boxing Club, Bethnal Green, East London E2 was established in 1884 by the Repton College in the Heart of England. The club encouraged youth from varying backgrounds to be schooled in the Discipline, Respect and Art of Boxing. Through the centuries the Repton Boxing Club has been home to many World and Olympic Champions. Classic English styling is personified with Repton 1884. Simple styles, understated yet symbolised in the shield emblem and logo which has adorned the walls of the Repton BC since 1884. This logo encompasses all the rich history and heritage of the Repton and acknowledges the past and present names who realized their ambition. Non Viscera Non Gloria - " No Guts No Glory "