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Page last updated at 10:31 GMT, Thursday, 24 December 2009

Frank Bruno's former manager Terry Lawless dies

Terry Lawless and Frank Bruno
Lawless managed Bruno for all but his last five fights

Former boxing manager Terry Lawless has died at the age of 76.

Lawless was best known for his work with Frank Bruno, steering the British fighter to a world title challenge against Mike Tyson.

The Londoner guided four other British fighters to world titles, and also worked with a young Joe Calzaghe.

Lawless, who moved to Marbella with his wife Sylvia after he retired, died in hospital in Spain following a gall bladder operation.

He had been suffering ill health for several years.

Born in West Ham on 29 March 1933, Lawless took out a boxing manager's licence after completing National Service in the mid-1950s.

During a 45-year career, he managed more than 50 boxers, including John H Stracey, Maurice Hope, Jim Watt and Charlie Magri, who won world titles under his guidance.

606: DEBATE

BBC Radio 5 live boxing correspondent Mike Costello said: "Across the 1970s and 80s, Lawless was one of the most influential figures in the sport.

"He was known for his calm nature in the corner on big fight nights. He was also part of a powerful group of promoters and managers who dominated boxing in Britain for the best part of two decades."

Writing in his autobiography Watt's My Name, Watt described Lawless as a "rare breed of manager who treats his boxers like sons rather than fighters.

"He gives 100% and demands the same in return. If it were not for him, I would not have got near winning a world title. He revitalised my career."

Based at the Royal Oak gym in Canning Town, Lawless was renowned for his in-depth knowledge of the sport, and for his unwillingness to expose his boxers to unnecessary dangers.

Jimmy Tibbs, who was moulded by Lawless as a fighter and then a trainer, now trains Beijing Olympian Billy Joe Saunders and world lightweight title contender Kevin Mitchell.

He was always a safety-first man, that was the only way to describe Terry

Jimmy Tibbs, who fought and trained under Lawless

"He was always a safety-first man, that was the only way to describe Terry," said Tibbs.

"When I became a manager, though not as big as he was, I had a lot of fighters and that rubbed off on me, I was sometimes too safety-first.

"He was very compassionate."

He added: "Terry Lawless was one of the top managers in the world, probably, and I'm very sad to hear this news."

Lawless signed Bruno at the age of 18 and was in his corner when the British fighter lost his first world title fight against Tyson in 1989.

The pair had split by the time Bruno outpointed Oliver McCall to become heavyweight world champion in 1995.



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