TRIBUTES are pouring in for former British and European middleweight boxing champion Kevin Finnegan who has died.
Mr Finnegan, was found dead at his home in Hillingdon last week at the age of 60, and was the younger brother of Chris Finnegan, the 1968 Olympic gold medal winner.
Brother Chris, president of Hayes Amateur Boxing Club, said: "Kevin was the cream of boxing, he had far more class than me.
"In all his boxing career he was never knocked out, this time he just couldn't beat the count."
Dave Currivon, senior competition secretary and coach at Hayes ABC, said: "It's a great loss, I used to spar with Kevin when I was an amateur, he was one of the best, a very good boxer.
"He was quite a character also, he often used to pop down to Hayes for the events and was very well-known.
"He was quite a character, he used to go round with his beret and walking stick, a bit like Eubank.
"Kevin was also a great painter, and had his work displayed in galleries up in London."
Finnegan, who used to live on the Cowley Road, began his career in Hayes before going on to hold the British title three times and the European title twice.
He also fought twice in Boston against Marvin Hagler for the world title and led on points both times before being defeated.
Former world middleweight champion Alan Minter, 57, described Finnegan as his toughest ever opponent.
He said: "He gave me the hardest three fights of my life. When you box someone three times you have a special rapport with them. he became like a brother to me."
Terry Blackmore, press officer at Hayes ABC, said: "I knew him well from our days when we sparred together at Hayes and, although I had not seen him that often in recent times, I have always followed his career and am deeply saddened by his premature death. He was a cheeky chappie, a jack the lad, all at Hayes ABC send their condolences to his family, and other relatives."
At the age of 23, he entered the professional ranks and had an outstanding career in which he won the British middleweight title on three separate occasions, and was twice European champion, eventually hanging up his gloves in 1980.
In a career spanning 47 fights, he won 35, lost 11 and drew one.