Unsung Hero - Darren Barker pays tribute to Tony Burns

Each week we pay homage to a boxing ‘unsung hero’. The lifeblood of the sport - the men and women who have contributed so much and asked for so little, who have saved lives and transformed futures.

To mark the sad passing of boxing's Tony Burns, 80, we caught up with former middleweight world champion and tv pundit Darren Barker. Described as his 'second father', Darren explained the impact Tony had not just on his life and career, but that of hundreds of boxers from all walks of life and abilities.

"He gave up the biggest part of his life to help others," Darren said. "I struggle to put into words how important he was in my life. A mentor, someone who could extract the best out of me as a sportsman and a person."

Tony, who was honoured with an MBE in 2009 for services to amateur boxing, was also an inspiration to Darren's late brother Gary - a junior Olympic champion who died in a car accident aged 19. 

"It hurt Tony a lot when my brother died. We were all so close. My Dad boxed at Repton, then me and my brother. Tony was very close to us all, he was there for us. It's crazy that for all the 365 days of the year that Tony could've passed away on, he passed away on my brother's birthday," Darren added.

Watch the full interview for more on Tony Burns, Darren's thoughts on boxing's role in communities, and his plea for all involved in the sport to do more to help grassroots boxing.

Nominate your boxing unsung hero via… twitter: @maverickstars1 / Instagram: maverickstarstrust or our website: www.maverickstars.co.uk

Unsung Hero – Darren Barker pays tribute to Tony Burns