Boxing: Colin McMillan still fondly remembers the night he stood atop world after winning WBO featherweight title
PUBLISHED: 12:00 27 July 2017
Ex-world champion and Barking Bc regular is launching a new product, 25 years on from his greatest success
It is 25 years since Colin McMillan ruled the world as the WBO world featherweight champion and ‘Sweet C’ was never sweeter than the night in May 1992 he won the title.
Classy Italian Maurizio Stecca had captured a gold medal in the 1984 Olympic Games and the powerful then 29-year-old had lost only one of 45 pro contests as he stepped into the ring.
Many experts thought he was set for an easy defence against his British challenger, who was less experienced with only half that number of contests, when they faced off at Alexandra Palace.
How wrong could they be? Stecca was clearly outpointed over 12 rounds as the superb McMillan put on a display that brought comparisons with the all-time greats of British boxing.
McMillan still remembers the magic of that night: “It was a special point in my life. Ever since I was a kid walking into the Barking Boxing Club, being world champion was a goal I set myself.
“Beating an outstanding champion and a former Olympic gold medalist made it even more memorable,” said McMillan.
The Barking boy’s silky skills dominated the action from the first bell to the last as he unleashed rapid fire combinations and was just too fast for the classy Italian.
McMillan clinched a clear points decision from the ringside judges with a dazzling performance that brought predictions of a long and lucrative reign as world champion.
However, just four months after tasting global glory, he suffered the cruellest fate with an injury meaning he could never again scale the heights he reached that famous night. 25 years ago.
The critics were again predicting another routine defence for the title-holder who faced Colombian Ruben Dario Palacios at the Kensington Olympia in September.
But tragedy struck as he suffered the dislocated shoulder that forced an eighth-round defeat and the title was gone.
It was more than a year before he fought again, losing to Welsh rival Steve Robinson in Cardiff with the WBO world featherweight belt again at stake.
‘Sweet C’, who who had already tasted success at British and Commonwealth title level, continued, winning eight more times before retiring in 1997, but the real McMillan Magic was missing after that May night in Muswell Hill.
These days at the age of 50 he is above the featherweight nine-stone limit, but is still very much involved in the sport, still showing the enthusiasm that took him to the top.
Tuesday and Thursday evenings see him involved in his boxing classes at the Redbridge Sports Centre and he spreads the boxing gospel, running a number of programmes at schools around local boroughs.
McMillan also heads a boxing agency which deals in consultancy and securing sponsorship for boxers and various boxing events.
Almost 40 years after he first showed promise as a youngster at Barking Boxing Club, he still organises their annual dinner tournament attended by some of the biggest names in the sport.
The event has raised many thousands of pounds for charities over the years and gives a real financial boost to the club.
“The cash raised on that evening has kept us alive in recent years. Colin has been great for the club,” admits Barking chief Dave Sadler.
The former world king has also produced a new product that is designed to improve fighters’ ring skills.
Called ‘Box Weave’, it is an accessory that can fit most punch bags and can be adjusted to suit adults and children.
“It enables boxers to work on their defence when using a punchbag, it allows you to change your level, improve your mental alertness and improve your footwork,” says McMillan.
To find out more about the ‘Box Weave’ product, email firstname.lastname@example.org
If you value what this story gives you, please consider supporting the Barking and Dagenham Post. Click the link in the orange box above for details.