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With Mark Dover

Former boxing World Champion Colin McMillan receives New Year honour

A local boxing hero has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) as part of the Queen’s New Year Honours. 

Former featherweight boxing world champion, Colin McMillan, said he was “chuffed to receive an award of that magnitude.” 

The 52-year-old, from Chadwell Heath, defeated Maurizio Stecca in 1992 to win the title after securing the Commonwealth title in the same year.

In 1991, he beat Gary De Rou in the British final. 

Since then, he’s spent 15 years helping charities throughout east London and Essex.

He said children suffering from disabilities were “particularly close to my heart.”

“A lot of young kids are born with illnesses and ailments which make their lives very difficult,” Colin said. “All of us fortunate enough to be fit should do a little something to make their lives a bit healthier and happier.”

In 2013, he set-up his own Boxing Academy in Redbridge Sports Centre from which he tries to introduce kids and teenagers to boxing.

“They get to take part in activities they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.

“Boxing is a great sport and for young kids it’s a great way of keeping them off the streets and redirecting them.

“Sometimes it’s nice to have an outlet where they can learn about other people, how to respect them and to fulfill their own potential.”

Colin is also a patron of The Dream Factory, which helps young people with life-limiting or threatening illnesses. It collect money to fulfill the person’s greatest wishes. 

“It’s really heartwarming to see the happy faces on kids. If I can raise a bit of money to help them, then that’s even better.” 

This Christmas, he dressed up as Santa Claus for an annual party hosted for over 300 children with disabilities by The Presidents Sporting Club charity. 

Colin started boxing when he was 15 and was inspired by Muhammed Ali and Sugar Ray Leonard on TV.  He said he was “fortunate” to reach his goal of becoming a world champion. 

“It’s not easy, I lost my third fight, but in life you’ve got to keep on overcoming obstacles and striving to achieve what you want.” 

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