THE Plymouth sporting community has been shocked by the death of popular city boxer and rugby player Courtney Richards.
The 27-year-old passed away on Friday afternoon after he was involved in a road traffic collision while on a motorcycle in Plympton.
Richards, nicknamed ‘Fatboy’, was a bit of a latecomer to boxing, only taking up the sport at the age of 19 to get fit. After 12 amateur fights he turned professional and featured in a number of big shows and won a Bronze Masters’ cruiserweight title in 2014. He also featured on the undercard when Josh Warrington won his European title in Leeds.
Richards started his fighting career with Carl’s Boxing stable under the tuition of Carl Robson and then got involved with Errol Johnson’s team in Birmingham.
After taking a three-year break from boxing, he decided to return to the sport late last year with Goodwin Boxing. They said on social media: “We are very sad to hear of the passing of Courtney Richards. He was part of our Plymouth stable and was a talented fighter. Our thoughts are with his family and friends at this time.”
Carl’s Boxing Stable added: “Such sad news. Our thoughts go out to his family and friends. A true gentleman.”
Fellow Plymouth boxer Des Newton said in a tribute: “Gutted to hear the news of yet another lovely person taken too young.
“Thoughts go out to your young family Courtney Richards. I only knew you through boxing but you will be sorely missed by all.
“The world is an absolute cruel place. RIP Courtney. Gutted – truly a shame and an injustice.”
But alongside his boxing, Richards continued to play rugby.
He was part of the Plymouth Argaum team that won promotion to the Cornwall/Devon League in 2015.
Argaum said they were shocked by the news. New club secretary Richard Belli posted on their website: “Courtney was a larger-than-life character, who alongside brother Tom, was an integral part of Dave Sansom’s successful squad which clinched promotion from Devon One to the Cornwall and Devon League in 2014-15.
“Courtney, a powerful runner, featured mainly at centre for the club, but his versatility meant that he was equally adept in the back-row.”
Belli added: “His passing has resonated across the region’s rugby and boxing community and we send our sincerest condolences to all of his family and friends at this very sad and difficult time.”
Richards also played for Ivybridge, Plymstock Albion Oaks, Tamar Saracens and Plympton Victoria.
Tamar Saracens said: “All our thoughts are with his family at this tough time. A true gent, who always led from the front.”