One of independent Jamaica’s earliest boxing champion George “Bunny” Grant, welterweight, died on November 1 at age 78. In 1962 as Jamaica celebrated its status as an independent nation, Grant gave the nation a gift when he won the gold medal in his class at the British Commonwealth games. For the next several years well ino te 1970s Grant kept the Jamaican flag flying high in boxing as he dominated and remained relevant in the international welterweight boxing class.
Statement from Jamaican Minister of Sports
It was only last year that Jamaica’s Minister of Culture, Gender, Entertainment and Sports, Olivia “Babsy” Grange announced the government’s plan to refurbish the home in which Grant resided. In her statement on Grant’s death, Grange said, “Long before Lennox Lewis, before Mike McCallum, before Shrimpy Clarke, there was Bunny Grant,,,,,We will forever remember his victory over Dave Charnley, the Commonwealth Lightweight Champion, at the National Stadium on August 4, 1962 — just two days before Jamaica’s Independence Day. Bunny’s passion and humility endeared him to all. We all followed and celebrated with him throughout his 19-year career. Each of his victories was a victory for the Jamaican people.”
Statement from Grant’s family
On Friday night grant’s family issued a statement expressing being “deeply distressed at the loss of our father and loved one. We are a large group of siblings, who though all born in Jamaica, we are residing in Jamaica and in various diaspora countries.”
The statement continued: “Bunny Grant had a life-changing Stroke in early 2016. He succumbed to his illness after another suspected stroke. He was in KPH Hospital briefly and was discharged Wednesday 31 October. He sadly passed away 1 November 2018 at his home in Weymouth Drive where he lived lately with his son George Grant Jr.
True sporting legend
Bunny Grant was and is to us, our father. He was a true sporting legend, character and loving dad. There is much that we could say about dad however as a family we want the People of Jamaica to know how much we appreciate the high esteem in which they have held our dad during his Legendary days when on the NIGHT OF THE 4 AUGUST 1962, he won the British Empire Welterweight Title from Dave Charnley, British Boxer at the National Stadium. So phenomenal was this fight that the great The Mighty Sparrow attended and wrote the hilarious Bunny Grant vs. Charley ‘ him too facety, him too fass…hit ‘im in him yeye, nyam him to rahtid’.
This represented the same fight that Jamaica had with her Colonial rulers which was about to end LESS THAN ONE DAY LATER when at MIDNIGHT 5/08/62 the British Flag was lowered in the same National Stadium before Princess Margaret. The Jamaican Standard was raised over an INDEPENDENT JAMAICA, in the first seconds of 6/08/62 that effectively transformed Bunny Grant’s Title to the Commonwealth Welterweight Title – Jamaica’s first Sporting title as an Independent Island Nation. Jamaica went on to become one of the most formidable Countries in the World for the prowess of our Boxer, athletes, and musicians – before all was the Pioneers that include Bunny Grant, a son of Trench Town and a local hero to the end.
Thankful for outpouring of love
In this most difficult time in our family’s life, we are thankful for the outpouring of love and condolences from the People of Jamaica. We thank everyone expressing their condolences and respect to dad and his family in the TV, Newspapers, media and online forums. We are thankful for the life of our dad and the excellent contribution that our dad made as a Sporting pioneer.
Thanks to both of Jamaican political parties
Though known all around the world, dad remained a loyal son of Jamaica and Jamaica did much to honor and show respect to him. We acknowledge and express our thanks to both sides of the Political Parties for their contribution to dad’s wellbeing and the respect that was always shown to him. He was always very humbled and grateful for his place in the hearts of his Fans everywhere but particularly in his beloved Jamaica.
Refused to leave Jamaican home
When asked to travel abroad by his children, dad was resolute that ‘me naw goh noh way’, with his big trademark smile that we his children all share. As one of the original residents of the Weymouth Drive, Washington Gardens area, Bunny Grant loved his home and the area. He was a beloved resident and a permanent fixture from where he always refused to leave and where he died on the 1 November 2018.
Bunny Grant Foundation of Sporting Excellence
The Grant family is determined to continue Bunny Grant’s legacy by creating The Bunny Grant Foundation of Sporting Excellence. His excellence as a boxer was a means for Dad to raise himself from poverty to the pinnacle of sporting excellence. We would like to know that other children from Dad’s background will have the same chance to express their greatness.
We thank you all individually but we send our own heartfelt condolences to all who respected Bunny Grant.
We particularly thank the Office of Sports, the Boxing Board, NHT, KPH and all Organisations, Politicians, Friends and Fans and the Jamaicans remained respectful to Bunny Grant throughout the years of his Sporting glory and after his retirement to his recent illness and transition to our Ancestors.
From the Family of the Original ‘Gentleman Champion’ of Alton Ellis’ DANCE CRASHER and the ‘Soul Lover’ by Clancy Eccles and sung by our dear Dad – We The Grant Clan salute you, thank you and return love and respect.