Hoxton’s former champion boxer Vic Andreetti dies aged 76

Vic and Maurice Cullen at their weigh in in 1964.

Vic and Maurice Cullen at their weigh in in 1964. - Credit: Archant

Former British champion boxer and East Ender Vic Andreetti, who also trained Nigel Benn, has died aged 76 after a battle with cancer.

Vic and Charlotte in 2016.

Vic and Charlotte in 2016. - Credit: Archant

Vic began his career at the Lion Boys Club in Hoxton under the guidance of his father Victor, an amateur boxer.

As a teenager he worked as a porter at Spitalfields Market and won three national ABA titles before turning professional at 19.

Sharing the stable with Henry and Jim Cooper, he challenged for the British lightweight title in 1961 and eventually took the British junior welterweight title in February 1969, when he won a return bout with Des Rea on points.

He defended his title against Rea later that year before retiring with a record of 51 wins, 13 defeats and three draws.

Vic and Brenda's business card from The Spread Eagle pub.

Vic and Brenda's business card from The Spread Eagle pub. - Credit: Archant

After retirement, Vic and his wife Brenda ran the Spread Eagle pub in Kingsland Road, around the corner from his old fight venue Shoreditch Town Hall.

He opened up The Ringside bar and diner – now Catch 22 – opposite the “Spread” and also ran a boxing gym above it with his dad.

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Aside from boxing, Vic managed fledgling bands and musicians, giving a first gig to Kilburn and the High Roads – later known as Ian Dury and the Blockheads – and also supporting Spandau Ballet.

He had a major success after emigrating to Florida with Brenda, when he trained Nigel Benn to win the WBO middleweight title in 1990, defeating Iran Barkley in Las Vegas in 1990 in just one round.

In 2008 he returned home to help run the Boca Club in Loughton and train at the Cheshunt Amateur Boxing Club.

Vic was married to Brenda for 47 years until she died in 2010. He is survived by his son Vincent and grandsons George and Harry.

His niece Charlotte Bradford told the Gazette: “He and Brenda were a power couple – fashionable, smart, forward thinking business partners and popular throughout the East End and with all their regular customers, many of whom speak so fondly of the good years at the Ringside and the Spread.

“A born entertainer – both in and out of the ring – he’ll be remembered as someone who was hardly in a dull fight and could always be found larking around for his friends and family.

“He brought a lot to this world, mostly laughter and energy, and always put on a good show. They don’t make ‘em like they used to.”