Terry Spinks, West Ham’s Olympic boxing legend, dies

08:14 27 April 2012

Terry Spinks...boxing legend

Terry Spinks...boxing legend


One of Newham’s favourite sons, boxer Terry Spinks, who won gold at the 1956 Olympics at the age of only 18, has died at the age of 74.

Terry, the youngest Briton to win an Olympic boxing gold medal, died at his Essex home after a long illness, just 90 days before then Olympics comes to his home town.

West Ham’s Terry Spinks, won flyweight gold in Melbourne. He also won the British featherweight crown as a professional, won 41 of his 49 professional fights and was awarded an MBE ten years ago

The son of a West Ham bookmaker, Terry was the only boxer to be schoolboy, ABA, British and Olympic champion, started boxing at the age of nine with the West Ham Amateur Boxing Club.

He was working as a binman when the call came to join Great Britain’s Olympic team and only had a week to prepare before he went to Australia.

He beat Romania’s Mircea Dobrescu in the final.

Spinks turned pro the following year and retired from boxing at the age of 24.

He won the British featherweight title in 1960 beating Bobby Neill and defended the Lonsdale Belt twice before losing to Welsh fighterHoward Winstone in 1961.

Terry became a trainer, coaching the South Korean team at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

A long campaign led to Terry being awarded an MBE..

Despite his failing health, Spinks remained a fixture at meetings of the London ex-Boxers’ Association until shortly before his death.

He was true gentleman, and on one of his visits to the Recorder’s former office in East Ham, remained as humble in his later years as he was when he won his title.

The word legend is trotted out too often these days for sports stars. But in Terry’s case, it was simply a perfect fit,

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