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Thursday, April 11, 2013
An East London boxing club has paid tribute to Woodford Green fighter Michael Norgrove, who died on Saturday after earlier collapsing during his sixth professional contest.
Repton Boxing Club in Bethnal Green has been saddened and shocked by the death of its former club member.
The unbeaten 31-year-old light-middleweight looked set for victory in his fight with rival Tom Bowen before the clash was called off by referee Jeff Hinds, who was concerned by the boxer’s behaviour. Norgrove was taken to hospital and died nine days later.
It was nearly four years ago that he left the east London amateur club to launch his pro career, but he is still fondly remembered by coaches and clubmates as a genuine guy who earned and showed real respect.
Repton’s senior coach Tony Burns has developed a long line of boxing champions at the club’s famous gymnasium during the past 45 years and recalls Norgrove as a ‘special talent.’
The Zambian-born light-middleweight had arrived at Repton’s gym after showing good form in white collar bouts and was eager to learn alongside the top amateur names at the club.
“He showed a lot of promise and had some good wins for us – including successes in the ABA novice championships,” recalls Burns, who has been awarded the MBE for his services to the sport.
Norgrove won the London novices title and reached the national finals in 2009, but then made his decision to join the paid ranks the following year
However, the trainer admitted his disappointment when he was informed that the boxer had left to move into the pro sport.
“I would’ve liked him to have stayed longer at the club, I am sure he could have achieved more titles in the amateur ranks,” said Burns.
Repton official Kelvin Wing also recalls Norgrove developing as a fierce-punching competitor who was always a friendly character outside the ring.
“Michael will be remembered by everyone at the club as a real gentleman. We have fond memories of a nice guy.
“What has happened is a real tragedy and condolences from everybody at Repton go to Michael’s family .”