Cesay: the Alex Ferguson of East-End Boxing

Boxing coach Tony Cesay has been a busy man for the past decade, building up a reputation for talent spotting around London’s East End. Conail Gallagher brings us a closer look at the legendary figure.

A senior national champion himself back in 1999, Cesay has discovered an abundance of talent in recent years, such as up-and-coming professional cruiserweight Anthony Yarde, newly-turned pro Umar Sadiq, and WBC Silver Champion Ohara Davies. But what is it about the former welterweight that creates champions?

Brainy brawlers

One key characteristic that Cesay passes on to many of the prospects he trains is a smart boxing brain. Cesay’s fighters do not rush around the ring and waste energy; instead they throw punches from their own range using a long jab and a good defence.

This is a testament to Cesay’s ability to implement smart strategies in an easily understood way, something he accomplishes by working the same combinations on the bags and pads, and sparring over and over again until it pays off.

And it’s not just from the neck up that Cesay’s boxers are in good shape – the East London coach keeps them in top-level fighting condition throughout the year.


Cesay named his boxing club Omnibus, which means “togetherness,” and runs his club out of the Peacocks Gym (formerly Trad TKO’s). And with east London sustaining a high crime rate over the years, Cesay is in the perfect area to find kids who want to fight and channel this aggression through boxing.

Former Omnibus fighter Umar Sadiq said: “Boxing has always been a hard, working-class sport in the past and that’s what you find in east London. There is a lot of appreciation for fighting men around here and that results in fighters taking their trade seriously with pride.

“Successful role models such as Tony have motivated our generation to succeed,” he added.

With many champions over the years rising up from the East End, Cesay will not find it difficult to discover young men who want to fight, and if he continues to pass his knowledge down to youngsters, he will continue to build a ‘talent-spotting’ reputation.

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