Smoked Into A Cruel Twist of Fate, Whatever Happened to Errol Christie?
By Robert Brizel, Head Real Combat Media Boxing Correspondent
He was the first British amateur boxer to win all ten known amateur titles in Great Britain as well as the under 19 European champion in Easy Germany. He was highly touted, and appeared regularly on ITV Fight Night in the 1980’s, but during his ten year 41 bout career, he never fought in a local, regional, or world title bout.
A promising super middleweight and light heavyweight, Errol Christie opened his career with an impressive 13 bout win streak, which ended when Jose Seyes knocked him out in the first round. After another seven wins, Christie got knocked down seven times as Mark Kaylor stopped him in the eighth round.
Between 1982 and 1993, Christie compiled a career professional record of 32-8-1 with 26 knockouts. All but three of his 41 bouts were in the United Kingdom, with the other three bouts in Nevada, Michigan, and New Jersey in the United States. Christie won only won of his last five bouts between 1990 and 1993, his last appearance being a second round knockout loss to Trevor Ambrose in Manchester.
What happened? Where did Christie go wrong? Nine of his bouts reached the eighth or ten round. Christie won ten round bouts twice in 1986, but got stopped in the third round by Michael Watson in his only other scheduled ten rounder in Birmingham in 1990.
After retirement, Christie worked as a standup comedian, market trader, white collar boxing instructor, and fight consultant. In 2010, he wrote his autobiography ‘No Place to Hide’. Christie was diagnosed with small-cell lung cancer in 2015, and went on chemotherapy. Errol Christie never smoked, and blamed the diagnosis on the hundreds of nights he fought as an amateur and a pro in different boxing clubs, small halls and hotels where smoke was so thick it obscured the view from the back of the venue. At 53, Christie may at some point in the near future die from the effects of boxing, in a cruel twist of fate-perhaps the only known professional boxer in the world, not damaged by his wars inside the ring, who may die from second hand cigarette smoke caused by boxing fans smoking indoors outside the ring. Robert Brizel’s education in boxers who become ill from boxing due to reasons other than boxing just opened a whole new chapter of understanding.