A Nation Divided: Errol Christie V Mark Kaylor

3 min


To those of you outside the British Isle the domestic match up between Mark Kaylor and Errol Christie may not mean as much to those who were there, those that were privy to the build up and the eventual fight between these two for the British middleweight title eliminator at Wembley Arena on November 5 th , 1985 would bare witness to a British classic.

Christie was a multi-National Amateur champion equipped with superb skills and boxing ability, after turning pro in 1982 he racked up a string of victories most of which ended in early stoppages, dubbed the British Sugar Ray, Christie had the British public admiring his talent and a map to world domination laid at his feet. Kaylor himself had a superb amateur career culminating in an Olympic call up to the 1980 games in Moscow losing in the quarter finals on a split decision, he turned pro that same year winning 24 straight fights knocking out Roy Gumbs to win the British/Commonwealth Middleweight Title.

I’ve seen a lot of play-acting before fights, but I’ve never seen anything as real as this.

Terry Lawless

Kaylor would lose that title to Tony Sibson in 1984 but have a chance to win it back in 1985 if he could get past Christie the fast-rising ring super star. 80s Britain was in turmoil rife with violent Political confrontations its national game tarnished by the height of Football violence and racial fueled tension with riots in Birmingham London and Liverpool, the Fight itself was hyped to the maximum out on the streets North v South, Black v White, the old pro v the young upstart. The Pre-Fight brawl live on tv sparked by a Kaylor racial slur toward Christie only added to the hype causing Wembley Stadium to ban prefight alcoholic drinks with covert security employed to infiltrate and monitor the sell-out crowd looking for signs of trouble, Wembley was buzzing in anticipation but amongst the chaos and frenzy leading up to the fight the tension between the 2 sets of fans was palpable right up to the opening bell the smell of hate and was in the air. In April 1985 Marvin Hagler and Thomas Hearns lit up the world of boxing with the first round of their memorable encounter, round one of Kaylor v Christie 7 months later was equally exciting, from the opening bell both boxers set off at a pulsating pace with bad intentions on their minds. Within 30 seconds Christie hit the deck from a Kaylor right hand clearly dazed and cut he managed to hang on smothering Kaylor to regain his senses before dropping him with a right hand of his own to even up the score, the fight had kicked off with a bang along with the fireworks in the crowd. The pace carried on through round 2 and into 3 as both boxers tried to stamp their authority on the bout, Kaylor working on the inside with body shots followed by hooks while Christie worked behind his jab. Midway through the round Christie once again dropped Kaylor with a stunningly quick one two combination, Kaylor quickly got to his feet an rallied back rocking Christie to the soles of his boots with a hard right cross, Christie hung on to see the end of the 3 rd round.​

The next 4 rounds Kaylor would rely on the strategy to march Christie down, overpower him on the inside teeing off with left hooks, and back-hand leads, limiting his opponents’ options, Christie dominant from distance with superior skills could not compete with Kaylor’s relentless marauding style and began to tire taking heavy shots toward the end of the 7 th round. Christie clearly getting tired and out fought, desperately trying to establish his jab came out for the 8 th round knowing the fight was slipping away but one punch could sway it his way, however, it would be Kaylor that would end the fight emphatically. Kaylor waiting for the Christie jab counterpunched with a perfectly timed right-hand lead followed by a left hook sending his arch enemy sprawling to the canvas, Christie on his knees shuffled to the corner desperately trying to pull himself to his feet and get back in the game but it was no use it was all over, a jubilant Kaylor jumped on the ropes to celebrate as the referee counted Christie out. In a fight that split a nation in half neither fighter got to fight for a World title, however both will be remembered for giving us one of the best British fights ever.

WATCH THE FULL FIGHT

full fight

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The next 4 rounds Kaylor would rely on the strategy to march Christie down, overpower him on the inside teeing off with left hooks, and back-hand leads, limiting his opponents’ options, Christie dominant from distance with superior skills could not compete with Kaylor’s relentless marauding style and began to tire taking heavy shots toward the end of the 7 th round. Christie clearly getting tired and out fought, desperately trying to establish his jab came out for the 8 th round knowing the fight was slipping away but one punch could sway it his way, however, it would be Kaylor that would end the fight emphatically. Kaylor waiting for the Christie jab counterpunched with a perfectly timed right-hand lead followed by a left hook sending his arch enemy sprawling to the canvas, Christie on his knees shuffled to the corner desperately trying to pull himself to his feet and get back in the game but it was no use it was all over, a jubilant Kaylor jumped on the ropes to celebrate as the referee counted Christie out. In a fight that split a nation in half neither fighter got to fight for a World title, however both will be remembered for giving us one of the best British fights ever.


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