LONG before boxing press conferences were overrun with hopeful young videographers of varying ability and experience, Eric Guy was the only person – aside from ITV employees and the like – who attended such events with a video camera. He first appeared on the circuit in 1987, a time when YouTube was non-existent and the internet so young it barely knew its own name.

In many ways, Eric was a trailblazer, albeit one who never really got to enjoy the fruits of his foresight. He died in his sleep last week, aged just 66 and suffering from diabetes and high blood pressure, after a miserable few years in which financial stress attributed to his poor health.

It would be unfair on those who followed him to say without Eric Guy there would have been no YouTube boxing content, because of course there would, but his influence over the next generation should never be understated.

“I did it all before any of them,” Guy told BN in recent months. “I was filming everything, all the press conferences, all the fights. The only other people there filming was ITV, BBC and Eurosport sometimes.

“I never saw IFL [TV] as a rival when they came along because I was doing different things, like filming fights, and they never do that. And I never really liked the half-hour interviews they did, that’s too long, I preferred to speak to the boxers for a few minutes so they didn’t have to stand and talk for too long. But I did everything I could to help them [IFL].”

And he did, introducing IFL co-founders Kugan Cassius and James Helder to early interviewees like Anthony Small and facilitating meetings with others. Helder said: “I spent many a time in Eric’s company talking about his life and career. He was a great bloke and a genuine boxing man. His passing makes me very sad.”

Guy would be employed by Matchroom and Frank Maloney to film press conferences, record footage from behind the scenes and, on occasion, provide MC duties at weigh-ins. Guy, a former amateur who also filmed bodybuilding events, would regularly transport boxers and their teams from A to B, allowing him to build strong relationships with fighters like Lennox Lewis, Frank Bruno, Michael Watson and Anthony Joshua, among countless others. For many years, in fact, the omnipresent Guy – armed with his unique sense of humour and cartoon smile – was part of the industry furniture. He would travel the country to film and photograph pretty much every noteworthy amateur event too.

Eric Guy with Michael Buffer

In recent years, Guy made a meagre living from selling DVDs of those amateur cards, largely to the boxers who appeared on them. He had an incredible archive of which he was very proud and though his ‘office’ at home resembled a mad professor’s laboratory, with videos, posters and magazines piled up precariously on makeshift shelves, it is surely the largest of its kind in existence in the UK. Some of Eric’s work can now be found on KOTV, the long-running boxing show and YouTube channel which recognised the value in Guy’s collection, including the early contests of boxers like Joshua and Carl Froch, and his footage of Roberto Duran sparring with Nigel Benn.

“Well, that wasn’t planned,” Guy told KOTV about the Duran-Benn spar. “Ambrose [Mendy] and [Frank] Maloney brought him [Duran] over for an exhibition. I picked him up from Heathrow and I ended up filming everything. We took him to a few places, like silly markets, the Tower of London, that sort of thing. He decided to train and there was a little gym, in the Docklands, called the Metropole Wharf… Nigel came in and I said, ‘Come on, let’s get you in the ring [with Duran] and you can do a bit of sparring.”

Guy, formerly of the armed forces and a huge Elvis Presley fan, would regularly visit the BN office to grab a magazine and talk about the sport. His photography would regularly be used on the amateur pages, and, when it was time to be paid for his graft, he would make a brew, lick his thumb, and examine each page of recent issues to note down exactly what he was owed, chatting away throughout, caring little if it was deadline day or not. Eric, who would then submit a hand-scrawled invoice to the finance department, was of course always welcome; his stories so interesting and his jokes, of varying taste, never less than plentiful.

But there was sadness, particularly in his later years, behind his jolly exterior. Though he managed to regain some fitness in 2019 when he staged a boxing event where he fought light-hearted exhibitions against Johnny Nelson, Duke McKenzie, Glenn Catley and Julius Francis to raise money for charity, he was always battling mental demons. He struggled to find any work in or after lockdown, and, in 2022, with his debts piling up, he was evicted from his home. More than once he would post videos on his Facebook page of himself in tears, voicing shame at what he had become. No longer welcomed with open arms by an evolving industry he had once served so well, he told me of his humiliation when he was ejected from a recent press conference because he hadn’t applied for accreditation.

“Sad to see Eric Guy has died,” wrote Audley Harrison. “He recorded my first amateur bout and many more as I made my way through the ranks. Loved boxing, but boxing didn’t really love him back in the end.”

It’s not true, however, to say that everyone turned their back on Eric Guy. Plenty helped him financially, remembering exactly what he had done for them in the past. Some of his problems were of his own making, but Guy – an active supporter of Ringside Charitable Trust – deserved better. Anyone who knew him might have been asking themselves over the last few days if they could have done more. I know I have.

He is survived by his wife, Milena, four daughters, Nichola, Tasha, Georgia and Harriet, as well as 10 grandchildren, and they’re appealing for help to give Eric the send-off he deserves. Anyone wishing to help can donate here: www.gofundme.com/f/d6bg69-our-dads-funeral

Eric Guy and Oleksandr Usyk