|Real name||Anthony Small|
|Nickname(s)||Sugar Ray Clay Jones Jr.|
|Rated at||Light Middleweight|
20 June 1981 |
|Wins by KO||16|
Anthony Small (also known as Abdul Haq) is a retired professional boxer and islamic political activist who was born 20 June 1981 in Lewisham, London, England. He held both the British and Commonwealth belts at light middleweight. His was also referred to as 'Sugar Ray Clay Jones Jr.' (SRCJJ), in homage to Sugar Ray Robinson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Muhammad Ali, and Roy Jones Jr.. Small converted to Sunni Islam at the age of 24. He is active on his YouTube blog where he advocates for Sharia (islamic political ideology) to be implemented in Britain and is a follower of Anjem Choudary and a member of Al-Muhajiroun/Islam4UK.
Early professional career
Small turned professional aged 23 in 2004 with a first-round knockout of Lance Hall. He was managed by boxing promoter Frank Warren, who had 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.
Small's boxing style was considered to be unorthodox. He kept his gloves low, relying on body movement to avoid punches, rather than blocking. Due to his low hand position, he relied mainly on his natural hand speed to surprise his opponents when punching. Additionally, he shifted from the left-foot-forward orthodox stance to the right-foot-forward southpaw stance throughout the bout.
Route to contention
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. 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
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. He made his first defence of both titles on 27 November 2009 in a close decision win over Thomas McDonagh over 12 rounds. 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.
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 Salafi 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. 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 the British boxer Amir Khan as being an apostate and outside the fold of Islam. 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 "unprovoked" and that Western claims that Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) had massacred the Yazidi were unfounded.
In 2014, he was arrested after two other men were apprehended at Dover with false documents, and appeared in court at the Old Bailey on 15 June 2015 charged with planning to go to Syria to fight with Islamic State after spreading terrorist material online. He was found not guilty.
Other media appearances
In 2016, he appeared on the BBC Two documentary Muslims like Us.
- Interview with Anthony Small on Islam Channel - Part 1. YouTube. 7 February 2008. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
- Behead Muggers Says Ex-Champ
- "BoxRec - Anthony Small". Retrieved 3 August 2015.
- "BBC SPORT - Boxing - Pryce stops Small to defend title". Retrieved 3 August 2015.
- "BBC SPORT - Boxing - 'Sad' Takaloo ponders retirement". Retrieved 3 August 2015.
- South London Today | Small outclasses Hall[dead link]
- Scott Christ. "Anthony Small narrowly decisions Thomas McDonagh in Wigan". Bad Left Hook. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
- "Webb stands tall to beat Small". SkySports. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
- Tom Pettifor (15 June 2010). "Muslim militants hurl abuse at military parade in Barking". mirror. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
- YouTube. Retrieved 3 August 2015.
- RT: "British ex-boxing champion Anthony Small defends ISIS beheadings" 3 September 2014
- "British boxing champion wanted to join IS - court hears", BBC News, 15 June 2015
- "Muslim BBC boss who put an Islamic State backer on a reality show is rewarded with a promotion as she becomes head of religious TV", The Daily Mail, 24 February 2017
|British Light Middleweight Champion
18 July 2009 – 26 March 2010
|Commonwealth Light Middleweight Champion
18 July 2009 –