A popular Bristol boxer, who won dozens of fights in his career, has died suddenly.
Darren ‘Tiger’ Thompson was only 51 years old when he was found dead in his Easton flat by a friend. Doctors said he had suffered a fatal heart attack and stroke on Saturday, July 22. His family said they were shocked and heartbroken at the sudden death of a much-loved son, dad, partner and friend. Darren grew up in Barton Hill, going to Avonvale Primary School and then St George School for his secondary education. After leaving school, he worked in maintenance at the old Bristol Rovers stadium in Eastville for four years, before working at his dad’s car breaking yard as a manager.
He met Claire and had his two children, Daniel and Olivia.But if there was one constant in Darren's life, it was boxing and running. He started as a small 13-year-old, going in secret to the Empire gym, where his dad Alan was a boxing trainer.His mum, Sue, did not like the idea of her eldest son going into boxing. But Darren decided to give it a go anyway, and soon found a real talent for it.When asked what it was like to train his own son, Alan said: “I taught him like anybody else. I suppose I was tough on him, I had to be.
“His first contest was when he was just 13 years old. He was very fit; not many people could live with him in the ring.” Darren took part in his first eight contests in secret – because his mum didn’t approve – hiding the medals in his Nan’s house. “He used to run down to his Nan’s to hide his medals, and then run back home like nothing was going on,” Alan said. “It was only when it went in the Evening Post that it got us into trouble with Sue.”
But Darren's mum did not deny his talent, and he would fight on for another 15 years. He gained a reputation as hard and tenacious fighter, quick with his jabs and a stamina to match.“He was phenomenal in training. We trained really hard, and the kids today wouldn’t be able to do what he did,” Alan said. “It was down to his stamina. He loved running. Darren just got better and better and better as the rounds went on. He was super-fast.” Training to be a boxer was not easy. There were sessions on Monday, Wednesday and Friday evenings, lasting hours after school. Then there was the weekly Sunday eight-mile run up a hill. He soon gained his nickname, the Tiger.
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