Remembering Hackney’s cruiserweight kingpin Terry Dunstan in all his glory
- Credit: PA
From rising basketball star to one of Hackney’s great boxers, Terry Dunstan had a strange journey into the sport and became a historic figure.
Dunstan was born in 1968 in Vauxhall in south London and as a youngster he excelled at basketball and was a member of the England under-19 squad.
Later, he tried his luck at amateur boxing with the former St Monica’s ABC based in Hoxton, now sadly long gone from Hackney’s sporting scene.
He had a modest 17-bout amateur career, remarking after he entered the paid ranks: “There was nothing to fight for, just a trophy at the end.”
Dunstan made his professional debut in November 1992, outpointing Steve Osbourne over six rounds and he was promoted for much of his paid career under the successful Frank Warren banner.
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Later on in his career, Dunstan boxed on other leading influential British promoters’ shows, and for some lesser-established promoters.
Victorious in his first eight contests, he challenged former world champion Dennis Andries – the ‘Hackney Rock’ – for the British cruiserweight title the Kelvin Hall in Glasgow in May 1995, outscoring Andries 118.5-117 to lift the belt.
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In February 1996 he successfully defended his crown against Andries, winning more comfortably by 119-115.5.
Three months later he made a second defence against John Keeton, halting him in a mere 44 seconds to record what was and remains to this day, one of the fastest stoppages in the history of British championship contests.
Following three further stoppage victories, Dunstan relinquished his British belt as he went looking for the European title against Alexander Gurov, from Ukraine, on Valentines Day 1998 at the Elephant & Castle Leisure Centre.
And just 20 seconds into the action, Dunstan threw a huge right hook to knock out Gurov and become European champion.
Dunstan had earned himself a crack at a world title and he met defending American IBF world cruiserweight champion Imamu Mayfield in March 1998 in Hull.
But Dunstan lost for the first time as a professional that night as he was stopped in the 11th of a scheduled 12-rounder.
Following two routine successes, Dunstan was back in championship action in December 1999, this time in a vacant British cruiserweight title match against Manchester’s Carl ‘The Cat Thompson’ over 12 rounds.
An epic battle ensued and it would have been interesting to see how the verdict would have gone, but with a mere 20 seconds remaining before the final bell, Thompson unleashed a knockout blow and Dunstan’s title hopes evaporated, as he hit the canvas for the full count.
Dunstan was not to box again until October 2008 as he served five years and 20 days of his original sentence of eight and a half years, having been convicted after admitting charges for several offences.
This is mentioned here to explain the lengthy period of time that Dunstan was inactive from the ring.
When he returned, he outscored tough journeyman Paul Bonson over four rounds in October 2008, then won three of his next four contests, losing narrowly to Ovill McKenzie in the quarter-final of Barry Hearn’s popular Prizefighter cruiserweight tournament.
In December 2010 he boxed David Dolan for the vacant English cruiserweight title, forcing Dolan to retire at the end of the sixth round to become English champion.
In July 2011, in what would prove his final professional contest, Dunstan was stopped by Ola Afolabi for the latter’s WBO Inter-Continental cruiserweight title after just two minutes and 40 seconds of the opening round.
He retired having won 24 of 28 contests, 14 inside the distance and losing four, three by KOs.