Knockout tributes paid to boxing coach ‘The Muller’

Cancer claims the life of champion who turned his life around and helped kids do the same

Friday, 26th February 2021 — By Helen Chapman

Steve Miller and Bulent Mustafa 0908

Steve Miller, left, with Bulent Mustafa, a volunteer at the club

A BOXING champion who turned to coaching, helping scores of families in Angel, has died from cancer.

Stephen Miller, 59, was told in January last year he had three years to live after a prostate cancer diagnosis spread to his bones.

He was known in boxing circles as “The Muller” and first joined the Angel Boxing Club at the age of 19.

The building in Owen’s Row is owned by City and Islington College which has said the 50-year-old club must leave next year when the lease expires.

Angela Low, who now runs the Angel Boxing Club, said: “He was full of life and full of energy. I think there was a boxing trainer who spotted him when he got into some trouble as a kid and said he would make a good boxer. The man went around to his house and said he would be good but at first he wasn’t interested.”

Mr Miller went on to fight in amateur boxing championships and became London Champion in 1986. He also fought in Australia and for the Golden Gloves Cup in the United States.

After retiring from competitive boxing, he took up the role training youngsters at the club and inspiring future generations.

The Angel Boxing Club has been flooded with messages of sympathy from parents and children since his death.

Mr Miller in the ring

“We have had letters saying he was the best trainer they ever had,” said Ms Low. “He just loved keeping kids off the streets. He went down the wrong path when he was younger and he didn’t want other local children doing the same. He got into a lot of trouble mixing with the wrong crowd.”

Mr Miller, who lived in Islington for his whole life, grew up in care from the age of nine.

He joined the boxing club after a short stint in prison and looked to turn his life around. He was born in St Bart’s Hospital and lived in New North Road for many years.

If he wasn’t at the Angel Boxing Club he could be found at the Angel Inn Café in St John Street where he would meet up with friends and his brother every week.

Sam Hadfield, who runs the Caris Boxing Club in Finsbury Park, first met Mr Miller nearly 30 years ago.

“We became friends ever since,” he said, “He’s done lots for the kids. They all looked up to him. He was straightforward – no beating around the bush. I think the club kept his mental health working as well – it kept him busy, working with all the children.

“It kept him fit, active and going. It kept him out of trouble. He was trying his hardest to fight it [cancer] but sometimes it’s your last fight.”

Reggie Hagland from Islington Boxing Club said: “Islington Boxing Club would like to pass on their condolences to the family and friends of Steve Miller aka ‘The Muller’.

“He was a very proud person who loved his club and fought plenty of hard battles till the very end.”

Mr Miller died on February 6 and leaves his sons Ross and Frankie and two grandchildren.

His funeral will take place at Islington crematorium in East Finchley High Road on March 3.

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