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'As I came off the pitch, I had the phone call to say he had died'

Ireland defender Cyrus Christie pays tribute to boxer uncle Errol, who played a big part in his life.

CYRUS CHRISTIE RECENTLY got off the mark with his first goal for Middlesbrough since a summer move from Derby County.

Scoring an 88th-minute equaliser to claim a point away to Fulham, the Ireland full-back pointed towards the heavens to pay tribute to a late relative — former British boxer Errol Christie.

Cyrus tribute Source: Instagram/c21christie

The 53-year-old, who won 10 British titles and the European middleweight belt as well as captaining the England amateur team, lost a battle with lung cancer back in June.

Cyrus had always looked up to his uncle and learned of his passing soon after leaving the Aviva Stadium pitch when the final whistle went in Ireland’s 1-1 draw with Austria.

“What he achieved over his career and what he did in his life in the boxing game was brilliant,” the Boro full-back said in Dublin today. “Obviously, he meant a lot to me and my family.

“When we played Austria, I kind of went into the game knowing that he only had a couple of hours left to live, and as I came off the pitch, I had the phone call to say that he had died. So it was a tough time in the summer leading up to that.

I had a few days off while we were over here to go back and put him into the hospice, but he meant a lot to us. I’m sure he is up there guiding us all and looking over us.

“He always told us what he needed to do to make it in life and to try to do something better for ourselves. He continued that work outside of his boxing. He is a role model to a lot of people and he’s a big miss to our family.”

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Boxing - Middleweight - Errol Christie - Training - Thomas A Becket Gym, London Cyrus and (right) his late uncle Errol. Source: INPHO & PA Archive/PA Images

Christie added: “He did it all. No one can beat his record in the Guinness Book of Records [the only British fighter to claim all 10 amateur titles] – he won every amateur title going and he was the first black British amateur team captain.

“For what he achieved, he probably knew he could have done more. He was mismanaged, but it’s one of those things. He learned from his mistakes and grew as a person.”

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