Anthony Small

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Anthony Small
Statistics
Real name Anthony Small
Nickname(s) Sugar Ray Clay Jones Jr.
Rated at Light Middleweight
Nationality United Kingdom British
Born (1981-06-20) 20 June 1981 (age 33)
London, England
Stance unorthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 25
Wins 23
Wins by KO 16
Losses 2
Draws 0
No contests 0

Anthony Small (born 20 June 1981 in Lewisham, London, England) is a retired professional boxer who has held both the British and Commonwealth belts at light middleweight. He goes by the alias 'Sugar Ray Clay Jones Jr.' (SRCJJ), in homage to Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Cassius Clay, and Roy Jones Jr. Small converted to Islam at the age of 24 and is now known as Abdul-Haqq.[1] He is a follower of Anjem Choudary and a member of Al-Muhajiroun/Islam4UK.[2]

Boxing career[edit]

Early professional career[edit]

He turned professional aged 23 in 2004 with a first-round knockout of Lance Hall. He is managed by boxing promoter Frank Warren, who has seen Small to wins over former Ukrainian Light Middleweight Champion Vladimir Borovski and previously unbeaten prospect Prince Arron. He also scored a win for the UK team in The Contender Challenge: UK vs. USA on 30 March 2007, defeating Walter Wright in the first matchup of the tournament by a close split decision. However, his World Title hopes were given a massive dent when he was beaten by a technical knockout in round seven by Bradley Pryce whilst fighting for the Commonwealth Light-Middleweight title.[3][4]

Small's boxing style is quite unorthodox. He keeps his gloves low, relying on body movement to avoid punches, rather than blocking. Due to his low hand position, he relies mainly on his natural hand speed to surprise his opponents when he punches. Additionally, he shifts from the left-foot-forward orthodox stance to the right-foot-forward southpaw stance throughout the bout.

Route to contention[edit]

His first fight back following his defeat by Pryce was on 12 January 2008 for the Southern Area Title Light-Middleweight title when he defeated Mehrdud Takaloo by TKO after 7 rounds.[5] On 14 June, he made his first defence, beating George Katsimpas by TKO in the 8th, flooring Katsimpas with a bodyshot. He finished a successful year by also defeating ex-contender star Freddy Curiel with a tenth round stoppage as well as former British title challenger Steve Conway.

British and Commonwealth champion[edit]

On 18 July 2009, Small fought for and won both the British and Commonwealth champion with an 8th round stoppage of Manchester's Matthew Hall after overwhelming him with a vicious flurry of hooks in the 8th, which forced the referee to stop the contest.[6] He made his first defence of both titles on 27 November 2009 in a close decision win over Thomas McDonagh over 12 rounds.[7] Small was criticised for his performance with many believing McDonagh had won. Small chose to give up the Commonwealth title and hold on to the British belt, defending it against mandatory challenger Sam Webb on 26 March 2010, who had also beaten McDonagh on points. The fight, which was also close, went the distance with Webb surviving a nasty cut in the fifth round to claim the judges decision on points handing a second career defeat to Small.[8]

Protest controversy[edit]

Small attracted controversy when he took part in a march in Barking, East London, to protest against the British presence in the war in Afghanistan. Small, a Muslim, had joined with around 50 other demonstrators who called themselves 'Muslims Against Crusades', which is a new front for al-Muhajiroun/Islam4UK, at the march on 15 June 2010.[9] Placards were waved during the march, aimed at the 1st Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment, saying "British soldiers go to hell" and chants such as "Murderers" and "Baby killers" were chanted by some of the protesters. Small said of the event "I'm a Muslim first and a boxer second ... these people are killing my brothers and sisters." He added that "a man is not a man unless he stands up for what he believes in." In April 2011 Small denounced British Boxer Amir Khan as being an apostate and outside the fold of Islam.[10] In September 2014, he released a video stating that the beheadings of American journalists, Steven Sotloff and James Foley, were a form of "retaliation" and were not "unprovoked2' and that Western claims that Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had massacred the Yazidi were unfounded.[11]

References[edit]

Preceded by
Ryan Rhodes
vacated
British Light Middleweight Champion
18 July 2009 – 26 March 2010
Succeeded by
Sam Webb
Preceded by
Matthew Hall
Commonwealth Light Middleweight Champion
18 July 2009 –
Succeeded by
Craig Watson