Scarborough’s Paul Ingle has led the tributes to his former coach and mentor Tommy Johnson, who passed away aged 85 last week.
Ingle reached the top of the sport, winning the British, European and IBF and IBO world featherweight titles, all of which he insists wouldn’t have been possible without Johnson, who lost his lengthy battle with illness on Saturday.
“It’s a huge loss to the sport of boxing and the Scarborough community,” said Ingle.
“Tommy was a brilliant bloke, who was there with my from the age of nine right through my boxing career, amateur and pro.
“He always told me if I boxed to my ability, used my fast hands and good head movement, that I’d go right to the top and that always stayed with me.
“I would never have achieved what I did in the sport without the support and guidance of Tommy.
“It’s sad news and Tommy will be missed by the boxing community.”
Johnson was also a talented boxer, making the final of the ABA Championships in 1957 at Wembley and going on to box for England.
Current Scarborough ABC head coach John Brownlie was quick to pay tribute to Johnson.
“Without Tommy Johnson, there’d have been no Paul Ingle, such was his influence,” said Brownlie.
“His dedication to the sport and to young boxers in Scarborough was second-to-none.
“He was head coach when I started boxing at the age of 12 and he guided so many young boxers in their careers.
“Several boxers he trained went on to box at international level and obviously Paul (Ingle) went one further and became world champion - I certainly wouldn’t have earned my international vest without Tommy’s guidance and coaching.
“Tommy is a huge loss to the boxing community and he’ll be sorely missed.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Westway ABC coach George Rhodes Snr, who said: “Tommy was known as Mr Boxing for many years, such was his influence on the boxing community.
“He was an outstanding amateur boxer himself and then carried his knowledge into coaching. Tommy will be missed by all.”
Another fighter who was shaped by the coaching of Johnson was Ryan Ashworth, who added: “Words can’t describe what Tommy meant to me and hundreds of other fighters lucky enough to have been taken under his wing at Scarborough Boxing Club.”
Former Westway fighterShaun Ireland also paid tribute to Johnson, adding: “It’s a huge loss to Scarborough and the amateur boxing scene.
“He was a great bloke with bags of knowledge, which he dedicated his life to sharing.”
Super-middleweight boxer Jamie Scotter also paid tribute to Johnson, adding: “Tommy was an inspiration to many, he always believed in me and encouraged me from a young age.
“He will be sadly missed by everyone.”