Earlier today news broke of retired British boxer, 33-year-old Anthony Small, who was set to leave Great Britain for Syria to join up with terrorist organisation ISIS. Whilst Small never gained much attention in the boxing world, he has now gained a lot of attention outside of it, for some very serious allegations - which could coincide with a jail sentence if found guilty.
The news is a far cry from the boxer who won the Commonwealth and British Super Welterweight titles against Matthew Hall, on a Sky Sports PPV night at the MEN Arena in Manchester back in 2009. Whilst Hall went on to fight domestically known fighters Gary O'Sullivan and Billie Joe Saunders at Upton Park and York Hall respectively. Small never went on to bigger and better things despite championing over Hall on that night six years ago. He only fought two times after his title-winning bout, his last fight coming in 2010, where he suffered only his second career loss.
The now-retired boxer was said to have taken to eBay to sell off memorabilia in order to fund the trip to Syria, and fake documentation, to join the organisation. The memorabilia included his Commonwealth Super Welterweight title, head gear, ring boots and boxing gloves. It is unknown if this was to fund the obtaining of illegal documentation and the passage into Syria, but this is was the prosecution believe to be the case, especially, as they had caught Small's two friends who were in on the journey, in the back of a truck back in November of 2014.
Small has denied all charges put to him, which include; disseminating terrorist publications, conspiracy to possess fake identity with improper intent and two charges of supporting proscribed organisations. It is a huge shame to see such a drastic change in this mans life, despite him not being a household name, nor a massive name domestically in boxing - he had won two titles in the sport.
There is no indication of which way the court will hear the charges, but, the trial will rumble on.