WITH the passing of Steve Hiser BEM, amateur boxing has lost the third of three titans who dominated the London club coaching scene for half a century.

Like Mick Carney (Fitzroy Lodge) and Tony Burns (Repton), who both predeceased him, Hiser came to personify one club – the Fisher in Bermondsey, on the south side of the Thames, not far from Tower Bridge.

Hiser survived a spell in hospital earlier this year but passed away in his sleep on May 12. He was 82.

Remarkably, until recently he’d still been going to the Fisher gym, where over the years he’d produced a litany of top names including Lloyd Honeyghan (who called Hiser the best coach he ever had), David Walker, Mickey Cantwell, Tim Driscoll, Matthew Thirlwall, Ted Cheeseman and Denzel Bentley.

Fisher ABC said in a statement: “Today, we mourn the loss of Steve Hiser BEM, a beloved coach and mentor who dedicated his life to the Fisher. He was a true legend in the world of boxing, and his contributions to the sport will never be forgotten.

“Steve was more than just a coach – he was a friend, a father figure, and a role model to countless young boxers over decades at the club. He was always there to offer guidance and support, both in and out of the ring, and his unwavering dedication to the Fisher was truly inspiring.

“We pray for his wife Sandra, his daughters and extended family at this difficult time.”

Hiser joined Fisher Downside Youth Club (to give the institution its full name) at 15 in 1957, quickly making his mark. He actually beat Tony Burns when they were fresh-faced schoolboys, but his aggressive style was always going to be better suited to the pros.

His pro career would prove brief – just two years and one month – and frustrating. Debuting in January 1963, he won his first eight and had reached eight-round level when back-to-back cut-eye defeats led him to call it a day.

He joined the Fisher coaching team in 1973 and what an inspired move that turned out to be. A few years back the club website featured an article outlining Steve’s philosophy.

“Steve Hiser understands that the young boxers need to take the work ethic, respect for others and the discipline of the gym and use it to be successful in life. He will give equal time and respect to a raw novice ‘straight off the street’ as to a national champion.”

That last sentence is so true. I recall meeting Steve at an East London BA show in November 2019. It was a cold night in Leyton and Fisher had just the one boxer on the bill: a long-limbed novice flyweight called Hassan Hashim in a three-twos. Steve was then in his late 70s, but obviously considered Hashim as worthy of his time as any champion.

No surprise then that in 2012 Hiser was awarded the British Empire Medal (BEM) for his services to youth boxing on London borough of Southwark.

Cheeseman said of his former coach: “He saved tons of lives and made sure they had good lives in Bermondsey. He was a like a dad to a lot of them. He gave kids self-belief. Even ones who didn’t go on to have major careers, he helped them have morals and discipline.”

With his short and powerful build, Steve was a puncher who fought aggressively – yet as a coach he was smart enough and adaptable enough to take into account a boxer’s natural abilities.

Thus it was that Steve always waxed lyrical about Tim Driscoll, a light-hitting stylist that he took to a Boys Clubs title and who would challenge for the WBO featherweight title as a pro.

And when Steve attended the 2001 Belfast World Amateur Championships he was especially impressed with Cuban southpaw Damian Austin, who outboxed a string of opponents for gold at 71 kgs.

“He’s such a beautiful mover, with a great rhythm,” said Steve, who was thrilled to see so many top quality boxers in action.

Steve Hiser leaves a widow, Sandra, daughters Natalie and Karen, and his extended family. Boxing News send its deepest condolences.