Premium Feature Issue

My dad, Pat Brogan

Pat Brogan
Tony Brogan writes a moving tribute to his father Pat Brogan, who died from coronavirus last week

I’M desperately sorry to report that my father Pat Brogan, a popular middleweight in the 1970s and a well-known promoter, trainer and manager, passed away from coronavirus on Wednesday May 20 in the early hours, aged 77, at Royal Stoke University Hospital. He had 53 pro fights and fought the likes of Maurice Hope and Alan Minter and in the amateur ranks he fought John Conteh. My dad and John remained close friends right up until the end. In fact, John facetimed him in the hospital on his very last day just hours before he passed away.

Dad – whose pro record was 26-23-4 – was managed first by Tommy Miller and then for the second half of his career by Ernie Fossey. He was always in peak condition and would take any fight at short notice anywhere in the country. Dad promoted, managed and trained fighters from 1978 right up until 2002. He promoted 55 shows, mainly in and around Stoke but also some further afield. His regular Sporting Club in Stoke was called the Stoke European Sporting Club, where many future champions appeared.

He also promoted some live shows on ITV Sport with Frank Warren in Frank’s earlier promoting days. He was one of the first to show fights on cable TV on Screensport in the mid 80s before BSKYB arrived. As well as showcasing British fighters, they ran a regular feature on up and coming American fighters on each broadcast, where I first saw a young Mike Tyson well before he was known in the UK outside boxing circles. 

Everybody in the British boxing world in the 80’s and 90’s knew my dad. I remember the likes of Brendan Ingle, Frank Maloney, Wally Swift, Jimmy Gill, Phil Martin and so many other great characters from the boxing world attending his shows with their fighters. Brendan used to often bring boxers like Prince Naseem Hamed and Johnny Nelson with him to my dad’s shows just to support the other Sheffield fighters appearing. My dad promoted Johnny’s first British title fight, in Stoke, against Ian Bulloch.

It was because of my dad that I was able to meet many of my boxing heroes, such as Marvin Hagler, Tyson, Hamed plus many others. He would bring some of the biggest names in history to the UK for after dinner tours and he got on with them all. Hagler liked my dad so much he invited him to his wedding in Italy almost 20 years ago. My dad was of course delighted to attend. As well as Marvin, Jake LaMotta and Larry Holmes were among the fighters he worked with.

Even though he stopped promoting and managing in 2002 he still followed boxing regularly and was a regular reader of Boxing News. In his later years he often travelled to London to attend the LEBA meetings and received the Al Phillips Award for services to boxing in the past.

In my final facetime words with him on Tuesday evening, just hours before he passed away, the nurse turned the phone to his bedside table, and there with all the cards from family and friends was last week’s Boxing News with Prince Naseem on the cover.

I want to take this opportunity to pay tribute to his courage at the end. Ever the brave man, he took any potential decisions away from his family and told the doctors that he didn’t want to be induced into a coma, but wanted to leave this life with his mind still conscious to the last, which he did. Thank you to all the people from the boxing world who have written tributes on Facebook and social media. They truly are moving. It will be a comfort to his family going forward, knowing that so many boxing people thought such a lot of my dad, the one and only Pat Brogan. Thanks for so many great memories. Rest In Peace, Dad. We’ll never forget you.

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