The Paddington Express fighter who was world middleweight champion for just nine months has died.

South Oxhey resident Terry Downes, who fought off Sugar Ray Robinson in 1962 and retired from the ring at just 28, died on October 6, aged 81.

Born and raised in London, Downes boxed with Fisher amateur club before heading to the USA to join the Marine corps after his family emigrated in 1952, and quickly became a success after losing only a few fights in four years.

He tried his hand at joining the Olympic team for the USA but was not chosen due to failing the residence qualification, so he returned to the UK in 1956 and turned professional under the management of Sam Burns, who worked alongside top boxing promoter Jack Solomons.

By 1961 Downes was one of the leading names in the ring, after becoming the world middleweight champion, and in 1962 he took on boxing legend Sugar Ray Robinson, being declared the victor.

He retired from the game in 1964 after failing to win the world light heavyweight championship, but he was always mindful of other industry and throughout his career he had set up betting shops.

Following his retirement Downes had a foray into the acting world, starring alongside Barbara Windsor in A Study in Terror and in Roman Polanski's Dance of the Vampires, as well as various thuggish television roles.

In 2012 Downes was awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to sport and charity, but the onset of cancer meant he was not as regular at major fights.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara; children Terry, Paul, Richard, Wendy and Melanie and eight grandchildren.