John is one of Britain’s most successful boxing champions. At his peak in the mid to late1970s he was considered good enough that he was touted as a possible opponent of Muhammad Ali.
He started boxing at age 10 at the Kirkby club that was a training ground for some of the best amateur boxers, Joey Singleton, Tucker Hethering and Stuart Morton were only a few. At 19, he won the middleweight gold medal at the 1970 British Commonwealth Games. He won the WBC Light Heavyweight crown in October 1974 and held the title until 1977 when he was stripped for not going through with a mandated defense.
He retired from professional boxing in 1980 with a record of 34 wins, 1 draw, and 4 losses.
Conteh also has the distinction of being British Superstars competition champion in 1974, the second year of the televised sporting event.
In 1973, Conteh was one of the celebrities featured dressed in prison gear on the cover of the Wings album Band on the Run.
Conteh also made a starring appearance in the television show Boon in 1989.
He more recently appeared on a Boxing special of The Weakest Link in 2009, where he came in third place. His most recent TV acting appearance was in the crime drama “Justice”, in which he again played an ex-boxer.
Conteh appeared on the BBC television program Sporting Legends which was presented by Eamonn Holmes. On the show Conteh spoke at length at how he started out in the fight game and how Ali persuaded him to fight at Light-Heavyweight instead of Heavyweight.
Conteh is now an after-dinner speaker and speaks at venues all across the country.