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. To this very day, he can still be found most nights of the week with his boxers in the Gym at The Repton Boxing club.

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

By Vernon Etridge

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