The Southampton boxing community is mourning the loss of legendary local trainer John Chapman, who has passed away after a short illness at the age of 81.

Chapman was a much decorated amateur boxer, in a career that spanned more than 300 fights, with just 17 losses in that time.

He did briefly turn professional and won his first fight but had to retire on medical advice after being struck on the head by a cricket ball From 1980 right up until his death, Chapman was a regular presence in Jack Bishop’s Southampton gym, helping the great trainer to achieve ten titles with his pro fighters, and helping the many keen amateurs and youngsters who flood through the doors every week.

Bishop paid tribute to his old friend, and said: “John was a great boxer with an incredible amateur record.

“He was like a grandfather to the boxers in the gym. John was always so kind and generous to everyone.

“If anyone had a problem, whether it was related to boxing or not, he would take the time to sit and listen and have some wise words of advice.

“He was a legend in Southampton. My gym is still crowded with men, women, boys and girls, all being kept off the streets and John was a very important part of that. He was a big influence and had so much respect.

“He will be very much missed.”