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20 NOVEMBER 2018

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Dean Francis Loses His Battle With Cancer Aged 44


pic Lawrence Lustig
pic Lawrence Lustig

Former British and European super middleweight champion Dean Francis has died at the age of just 44. Dean, from Basingstoke in the south of England, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in January 2017. Specialists gave Dean between three and six months to live but it was testament to his shear courage and relentless fighting spirit that he survived longer than expected.

 

Dean’s former trainer and manager Chris Sanigar paid tribute to him earlier today. Speaking to BBC Sport Sanigar said: "It puts things into perspective. An amazing talent curtailed by injury and now to pass at only 44."

 

Sanigar added: "Thankfully I’ve seen him twice this week. Nigel Benn, Chris Eubank and Joe Calzaghe visited him last week. He would’ve won the world title’

 

Dean turned professional after a hugely successful amateur career in 1994 and quickly went on to win the British and European super middleweight titles. Dean looked destined to fight for a world title but disaster struck at the Basingstoke Ice Rink in 1998 when he was stopped in the second round by American journeyman Undra White after dislocating his right shoulder. The shoulder injury kept him out of the ring for four years and all but ended his career at the top level.. He returned in April 2002 with an eight points win over Mondli Mbonambi but 11 months later he dropped a controversial 12 round points decision to Matthew Barney for the vacant British super middleweight crown. Amazingly Francis boxed pretty much the entire fight with one arm after again dislocating the right shoulder in the early rounds.

 

After two more years out with the injury Dean made another comeback but his time up at light heavyweight and managed to win the Commonwealth light heavyweight crown. But after a move up to cruiserweight and defeats against John Keeton and Bob Ajisafe back down at light heavy in March 2014, Dean retired for good with a record of 34-5-1-(26).




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