Over the last few months between tragedies in the ring and in sparring to have been asked to see the news across in the UK of a young boxer losing his life was heart breaking. There is absolutely no comfort in the fact that he lost his fight outside of the ring for any young man whose life is needlessly taken defines tragedy for his family and for the community out of which he came.
It was therefore with unbelievable sadness that we heard that Ed “Bad Boy” Brown had lost his fight for life at the age of 25. With a professional record of 20-0, 16 KO’s, this was clearly a kid going places. At welterweight, the world could have been his to command but now all we have left are the memories of his time as a professional and a highly impressive amateur. That amateur pedigree saw him accrue an amazing record of 390 fights – 370 wins.
Brown was good enough to become a candidate for the London Olympics of 2012. He had been training to join the team in 2012 and was hopeful of making that team and the level of his ambition saw him working towards joining the Olympic team for the one thereafter as well. Motivated by Chicago’s application to become the host for 2016, they lost out to Rio, Brown was to not make either team but turn pro to pursue the dream that took him into a gym as a dedicated and very impressive prospect.
His tragedy is compounded because Brown continued to live in the environment in which his own desires were rooted. He found himself gathering his hopes from the gutter and aiming higher than those around him and this was the 3rd time he had been shot. His life was developing into a beacon of what can be achieved if your heart allows enough hope to fill it. Brown through boxing, was on his way out whilst he lived amongst the people he came from. Ultimately, having turned away from the possibilities of gangs and drugs they appear to have caught up with him one evening at the end of a barrel of a gun.
He did not have far to look, gaze and wonder at the cost of the environment around him as the gym in which he had trained has one wall which is dedicated to pictures of the more than 20 boxers who lost their fight against the culture of drugs and gangs at a young age. They were all victims of street violence.
And yet it could have been so different as it was less than a month ago he was celebrating, in Philadelphia his 20th win against Albert Mensah, 29-6-1, 13 KO’s. It was his 4th fight and 4th win this year. It followed a frantic 2015 when he fought no fewer than 13 times – all of them of course wins.
Turning professional in 2012 he was clearly in a very fast lane by 2015 after changing promoters. He had had no fights in 2014 due to being wounded 8 times in 3 separate shootings. There were plenty of expectations being fuelled and speculation being mounted as to when and not if he was going to be a serious worldwide player. His death has denied us the opportunity of measuring his ability against the best in the welterweight division.
His manager, Cameron Dunkin, announced his death to the world and the explanation that he was shot, seemingly unprovoked, whilst sitting in his car, and died a day later in hospital from the wounds inflicted was horrendous. He had bene sitting in the car with his 19 year old cousin who suffered a leg wound but is OK.
Talking to ESPN, Dunkin was distraught, “He lost his life at 25 years old for nothing. Those people in Chicago shoot you for no reason. It’d be different if he was out there gang banging or running around or dealing drugs. He wasn’t doing any of those things. He was such a quiet kid. He was so bashful. You’d never know how tough he was in the ring talking to him outside the ring.”
Dunkin had warned him previously of living in Chicago. Death and tragedy had already visited the family as his mother had died in the 2003 E2 nightclub stampede.
In the UK we struggle to understand why America holds onto guns. When we had the shootings in Dunblane Primary school – where a young Andy Murray was spared – we banned them. In the US more toddlers shoot people than terrorists and yet there are powerful lobbies that believe they are a force for good. In the absence of any legislation, let me quote Brown’s aunt Tamika Rainey who said, “Put the guns down. Put the guns down. Put the guns down. All these kids are dying in the street. Put the guns down.” Amen and RIP.
Ringside Report rings the 10 count for our fallen “Brother In Boxing”.Contact the Feature Writers