Tributes after death of Hartlepool boxing official Fred Potter

Fred (right) with Hartlepool boxer Michael Hunter after he beat Esham Pickering to become British, Commonwealth and European super-bantamweight champion at the Borough Hall in 2005. Picture by Tom Collins
Fred (right) with Hartlepool boxer Michael Hunter after he beat Esham Pickering to become British, Commonwealth and European super-bantamweight champion at the Borough Hall in 2005. Picture by Tom Collins

Tributes have been paid to a respected stalwart of boxing who has died following a distinguished career.

Hartlepool man Fred Potter, who spent three decades as a referee before becoming one of the country’s most influential officials, died on Wednesday, aged 86, following a short illness.

Fred Potter (second left) ringside in 2015. Picture by Tom Collins

Fred Potter (second left) ringside in 2015. Picture by Tom Collins

Champion trainer Neil Fannan his death marks the end of an era for boxing.

Fred only retiring as a director of the British Boxing Board of Control last year.

He suffered a heart attack in late June in Newcastle where he was working as the steward in charge at the Sky Sports-screened show.

Paramedics and doctors, who were in attendance at the Walker Sports Dome, revived him and Fred spent weeks at the RVI Hospital in Newcastle.

But he never fully recovered, undergoing further treatment at the University Hospital of North Tees, before dying this week.

As a referee, he officiated fights involving some of Hartlepool’s top boxers, like the Feeney brothers, George and John, Dave Garside and Stewart Lithgo, as well as North-East greats, Billy Hardy and Glenn McCrory.

Fred picked up a lifetime achievement trophy at the 2014 Hartlepool Mail Sports Awards for more than 50 years of devotion to boxing.

Fannan, who trained Michael Hunter to the British, Commonwealth and European titles, added: “It’s always very sad when one of the old figures goes.

“It’s the end of an era for boxing here.

“Fred refereed me as a pro and he’s gone on to be one of the British Board’s top men.

“It was great for Hartlepool and the North-East to have had Fred there.

“He certainly was a big help to our camp and I knew when he went to the BBBC meetings in London and Cardiff that he’d put our case forward. He was probably at his most influential when Michael was about.

“Fred has been succeeded at the BBBC by a good man in this area, Reg Long, but he’ll be a big miss.”