By Shaun Brown
Boxing is mourning the loss today of legendary trainer Brendan Ingle and former British and European champion Dean Francis.
Ingle, 77, passed away at the Royal Hallamshire hospital in Sheffield this morning (Friday, May 25).
A former middleweight boxer, Ingle is best known for the ridiculously good conveyor belt of talent he produced and developed at the iconic Wincobank Gym in Sheffield. Naseem Hamed, Herol Graham, Ryan Rhodes, Junior Witter are just some of the names he took under his wing and helped guide to title glory.
Tributes have been flooding in on Twitter with trainer Dave Coldwell saying:
"RIP Brendan Ingle. The man that started me off on the road to where I am. Changed so many lives that we’re going nowhere & did so much for the sport of boxing in the UK. Thoughts with his family, friends & all the fighters he worked with."
Ron Lewis of The Times said: "RIP Brendan Ingle. One of the most important figures in British boxing and, more importantly, a wonderful man who transformed the lives of many young people, turning troubled teenagers into upstanding adults. I'll miss him."
Journalist and broadcaster Steve Bunce said: "The Great Whispering Guru is gone. Brendan Ingle changed the shape and face of British boxing. The boxing man is dead. Everybody else in the business was in a line behind him / the place will not be the same."
Dean Francis, who won European and domestic titles at super middleweight and light heavyweight also passed away today, at the age of 44.
Francis had been battling terminal cancer since January 2017 and was told he had only three to six months to live. Ever the warrior Francis fought the fight with dignity and courage alongside his with Ghilla.
Francis, regarded as one of the finest fighters of his generation to never win a world title, won the British super middleweight title in 1997 stopping David Starie in the seventh round. European glory would follow soon after, in the same year, knocking out Frederic Seillier in the ninth round of their contest. Francis would go on to win the English cruiserweight title before dropping back down to light heavyweight to win Commonwealth and British honours.
And tributes, as they have for Brendan Ingle, have flooded in for Francis on Twitter.
Former British super middleweight champion Paul Smith said: "Terrible news the passing of Dean Francis. 44 is no age at all. Gutted and thinking of his family. Bad day for British boxing."
Promoter Eddie Hearn said: "My family and all at @MatchroomBoxing send our deepest condolences to the family of Dean Francis, a great fighter and a lovely man. Rest in peace."
While Frank Warren said: "It’s also terribly sad to hear of the passing of Dean Francis. Deepest condolences to his family and loved ones. Rest in peace. FW."
Everyone at Boxing Scene would like to pass on their condolences to both the families of Brendan and Dean at this time.
Rest in peace.