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New Book Remembers The Life Of Legendary Former Olympic Coach And Boxing Champion

THE LIFE of a former Olympic Fencing Coach and champion war-time boxer has been remembered in a new book.

This Is My Life tells the story of Professor Steve Boston, from Leytonstone, east London, one of the most accomplished fencing masters Britain has ever produced.

Prof Boston coached Team GB at the 1972 Munich Olympics and also formed the Salle Boston Club which is still going strong today and regarded as London’s top fencing club.

The father-of-two, who was married to Georgina Boston, turned to fencing after retiring from an incredible  boxing career which saw him compete in more than 260 fights.

During the Second World War he fought across the World entertaining the troops.

Founder of Leyton Boxing Club – and now, his Grandson shares his story

At the end of the War, along with his brother Donald Boston, and his father Jack, Prof. Boston formed the Leyton Boxing Club – which went on to help produce scores of champions. Prof. Boston was renowned for creating cherished scrapbooks which he handed to fighters – young and old – so they had unique mementoes of their careers.

But, poignantly, Prof. Boston was also privately documenting the story of his own life and when he died in 1985 he’d written more than 100,000 words.

Earlier this year his grandson, Nick Owens, was passed the manuscript by his mother Ann, Prof Boston’s daughter.

And now, more than 30 years on Nick, from Chester, Cheshire has published his grandfather’s story.

Nick, an author and journalist, said: “I was only three years old when my grandfather died. So when I discovered he’d written his life story it was first and foremost an opportunity for me to learn more about his life.

“But as I began reading the words it soon became clear to me that his story was so remarkable that it really deserved to be told and shared with a wider audience. Not least because of the messages and knowledge my grandad has to share. It’s fitting now, so long after his death, that his story can finally be shared.”

Explaining how he wants to use the book to help raise money for charity Nick added: “ I’d invite anybody who is interested in obtaining a copy to contact me and I will happily send them one. As a family we are asking that donations be made to the British Fencing Charity Fund which my grandfather would have supported if he’d been alive today.”

266 Fights, losing just 14

This Is Your Life reveals how Prof Boston was born in London in 1920 on June 18. His first love was boxing, which he began at the age of twelve. He developed a strictly defensive style, based on fast footwork which earned him the nicknames of “Speedy Boston” and “The Shadow”.

In all, between 1932 and 1956, he fought 266 contests, just 14 of which were lost and two were drawn. One of those draws was against Randolph Turpin – who went on to win a World Title.

Of the contests he won, 60 ended with a knock-out.

Prof. Boston won 16 championships at four different weights, represented the Army on numerous occasions, and held the North East Midland Bantamweight title for four successive years. His highest honour was to gain international colours against Czechoslovakia in 1942, when he had a points win at bantamweight.

After the War he tried his hand at several jobs including as a Fleet Street runner for the Daily Express and as an insurance salesman.

But it was teaching where his passion began to emerge. He worked as a coach and lecturer for the National Association of Boys Clubs, travelling the country to teach boxing, fencing, gymnastics and general personal training. But it wasn’t all about sport. With his brother Don, Prof Boston was also part of a thriving comedy act, “The Boston Brothers”. The two brothers appeared regularly in cabaret and music halls, on television (in a variety concert in 1950), and even made two short film appearances, the most memorable being in George Formby’s thriller “The Britannia of Billingsgate”.

Fencing was to provide the greatest success.

A gifted teacher, Prof Boston founded the Leyton Fencing Club. Later the Ilford Fencing Club followed and he then formed Salle Boston – which became a breeding ground for Champions.

Salle Boston created a pathway that saw Steve’s rise to a fencing master and eventually saw him receive the title of Professor which provided a passport to teaching the sport.

He travelled the World, became an Olympic Coach for Great Britain and taught at leading schools and universities including at Cambridge. Over the years Salle Boston produced three national senior champions, six junior champions and four internationals.  The only thing which gave Steve more pride than his Salle was his family; the love of his life was wife, Georgina (Jean).  He was a devoted father to daughters Anne and Jeanette and a proud grandfather to Steven, Andrew and Nick.