Arlesey boxer: Competing at the Olympics ‘changed my life’

A BOXER who competed in the Olympic Games more than three decades ago has been remembering the experience.

Andy Straughn, who lives in Arlesey, competed for Great Britain in the Moscow 1980 Olympics in the light-heavyweight division (81kg) when he was 19.

The 52-year-old was born on the Carribean island of Barbados but moved to the UK when he was 10 and learnt his trade at the now defunct Hitchin Boxing Club.

Nine years later, having won back-to-back ABA light heavyweight titles in 1979 and 1980, Straughn was defeated in his first contest at the Moscow Games by the Soviet Union’s David Kvachadze, competing at his home Olympics. He went on to win a third senior ABA title in 1981 and then a British cruiserweight pro title.

“All my boxing tuition came from here so competing for Great Britain was a no brainer,” said Straughn, who retired from the sport at the age of 30.

“I was young but when I came back from the Olympics I grew up and it made me turn professional after that.

“At the time I didn’t appreciate what I’d achieved and how big it was but it really changed my life. My coaches saw something that I didn’t even know I had in me.”

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Asked how boxing today compares with his era, Straughn added: “It’s now so different to my day. The facilities are there now and it’s much more technical. It’s a great time for British boxing.”

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