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Amateur boxing pays tribute after fighter Thomas Waites passes away at age of 21

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Thomas Waites

Thomas Waites

Thomas Waites with dad Seamus

Thomas Waites with dad Seamus

Thomas Waites

Thomas Waites

Thomas Waites in the ring

Thomas Waites in the ring

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Thomas Waites

The boxing community has paid tribute to a former Ulster championship fighter who has died at the age of 21.

Thomas Waites, from Magherafelt, Co Londonderry, died suddenly on Sunday night.

He started boxing at the age of 11 and represented Ireland at the World Youth Championships.

He also won championship titles for Antrim and Ulster during his career in the ring.

He trained with the west Belfast Holy Trinity club in recent years.

Yesterday head coach Michael Hawkins snr said that the club had been left devastated by the news.

Thomas travelled from Magherafelt to Belfast three to four times a week to train there.

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"Thomas joined us about three years ago and he was a very talented boxer. He was just a really pleasant lad who came from a lovely family. He was so happy and just a really good lad," said Mr Hawkins.

"It was quite a journey for them to come up and down from Magherafelt but that's how eager they were to improve and to succeed.

"Many of the guys who were around his age have really taken it bad. They were all good friends, as they travelled to competitions together, and they saw a lot of each other. It's very sad."

Some of Thomas' friends from the club plan to visit his home tomorrow to lend support to his father Seamus, mother Karen and sister Sinead.

Michael added: "It's really upsetting for us all but I'm sure his family are absolutely devastated. Our thoughts are with them at this time. Words can't describe how they must be feeling because they just adored him."

Boxers from across the sport took to social media last night to pay tribute to Thomas.

Co Tyrone middleweight Conrad Cummings wrote: "Sad to hear of another young death, an old club mate Thomas Waites. Deepest condolences to his family, gone far too young."

Belfast super featherweight James Tennyson added: "Terrible news. Had the pleasure of sharing the ring in sparring and training with this fella.

"Couldn't meet a nicer guy. Gone far too young."

Friends also shared memories of the young man as news of his death spread.

Melissa Burns said: "I actually cannot believe what I'm hearing.

"Such a lovely lad with so much going for him.

"From talking to you just last week and you being your bubbly joyful self to hearing the sad news this morning is heartbreaking.

"You never truly know what's around the corner."

And Kelvin Arnott added: "Can't believe what I'm hearing this morning. Such a great guy, such a talented guy. Taken way too young."


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