FORMER leading British middleweight Errol Christie has been diagnosed with lung cancer at the age of 51 despite never having smoked in his life.

The fighter was expected to become world champion when he turned professional in 1982 but his career failed to recover from losses to Jose Seys, Mark Kaylor and Charlie Boston. The Midlander retired in 1993 with a record of 32-8-1 but now faces the biggest fight of his life.

“I will fight this to the end – there will be no surrender,” Christie told the Coventry Telegraph.

The diagnosis came last week when doctors noticed a shadow on his lung after X-rays.

“I’ve never smoked in my life and have always been a sporty person,” he said. “Hopefully they have spotted it early, but I’m a fighter, I’ve always been a fighter and I will fight this until the end.

“There can be no surrender and you have got to stay in good spirits for the battle.”

Christie, who spent time training with Emanuel Steward – alongside the likes of Thomas Hearns – in the early 1980s at Detroit’s legendary Kronk Gym, suspects his condition is a consequence of passive smoking.

“I feel even more strongly now about getting a campaign going to ban smoking around boxing. When I was younger you would see all the smoke rising to the lights above the ring like a whirlwind.

“I was always in that environment when you were travelling and when you were at venues. But they should stop it now, particularly when children are involved and those at amateur level, as you can be putting your life on the line.”

Boxing News wish Errol all the best for recovery.