'When she told the old man about it that night, he roared like a lion, shouting: ‘My children are not half of anything. They are full human beings.''
John Conteh was born in Toxteth, Liverpool, to a Sierra Leone father and an Anglo-Irish mother. Frequently in trouble as a teenager, his father steered him towards boxing.
On March 13th 1973, at the age of just 21, he won the European light heavy-weight title. He went on to win a string of titles including the WBC Light heavyweight title.
John said in his autobiography, ‘My first realisation that I was different from my white mates came when I was making sand castles from some builders materials in the road, that’s how young I was.'
'A drunk loomed over me and began kicking my castles over and called me some frightening names. The one that struck the most fearful chord in my child’s brain was half caste.'
I remember running indoors to my mother and demanding some kind of explanation. When she told the old man about it that night, he roared like a lion, shouting: ‘My children are not half of anything. They are full human beings.’