The trainer who links the legendary Joe Frazier to Belfast paid homage to the all time heavyweight great claiming “you could never have a second Joe.”
Holy Family boss Gerry Storey knew the former heavyweight champion, who passed away earlier this week, for over 30 years and labelled the first man to beat Muhammad Ali unforgettable.
‘Smokin Joe’ first met the three time Olympic Coach in 1982 when he was touring with a band and a relationship between a boxer who will be remembered for his part in the fight of the century and the Belfast club blossomed.
Storey, who now trains Olympic hopeful Paddy Barnes and World title hopeful Carl Frampton, believes Frazier should be remembered as a great man both in and out of the ring.
“You could not say enough about the man and what he did behind the scenes for charity and the appearances that he made. He knew what it was like coming through from where he was born. He never forgot where he came from and was always out there trying to help the kids that he knew were getting it tough in the world,” Storey explained.
The award winning coach also revealed the former heavyweight champion of the world always had time for the Holy Family Club and Belfast.
However for the first time in 30 years the fighters whose death has saddened the boxing world couldn’t make their annual meet up this year and Storey assumed he must have been very sick.
“He never forgot Belfast and never forgot us – never once did he turn us down. We always boxed what we called the ‘Joe Frazier Allstars’, you just couldn’t say enough about the man. This year when we were out in Wildwood we knew then he wasn’t too well. It was the first time he wasn’t able to have the yearly dinner that he always had with us. Every year, he never let us down. He always turned up for dinner with us. You could never have seconded Joe,” Storey added.