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One of Britain's hardest men gained such a reputation he was respected by Lenny McLean

One of Britain's hardest men gained such a reputation he was respected by Lenny McLean

Britain's strongest man Allan Crossley worked as an enforcer, a minder and a doorman, alongside Lenny McLean.

Allan Crossley was once the strongest man in Britain and he gained such a reputation that he was respected by the notorious Lenny McLean.

Before we get into Crossley, who sadly passed away in June, let's speak about McLean - 'Britain's hardest man'.

The notorious bareknuckle boxer garnered his rep for beating up a whole lot of people.

Back in the 50s, McLean grew up in Hoxton, London, with an abusive stepfather.

Later on in life, he started out as a nightclub enforcer and was then befriended by notorious gangsters Ronnie and Reggie Kray.

After falling into a life of crime, he served 18 months in prison for beating up his boss on a construction site.

When he got out of jail, Lenny got into bare-knuckle fighting because his criminal record prevented him from becoming a licensed boxer.

He began competing in fights at Frank Warren’s National Boxing Council in 1970, where he excelled.

Weighing 20 stone, he would go on to win more than 3,000 fights.

So let's put it this way, to earn this man's respect would have been a big deal back in the day.

'Britain's hardest man' Lenny McLean was a force to be reckoned with and has become a cult figure in the UK.

Now, Crossley wasn't exactly a softie either.

He won the 'Britain's Strongest Man' title in 1984 and went on to become British light-heavy and heavyweight arm wrestling champion.

Crossley was also born in the 50s, but in Coleraine, Northern Ireland.

The champion would later work as an enforcer, a minder and a doorman, where he crossed paths with McLean.

"Lenny McLean held Allan in very high regard. Allan was actually in Lenny McLean's corner when he fought Man Mountain York," YouTuber and fight expert Matt Legg explained.

"So Alan Crossley was working the doors at the Camden Pally with Lenny McLean and John 'The Neck' Houchin.

"And all three had a lot of respect for each other and Alan became very, very close friends with with John Houchin.

Allan Crossley was once the strongest man in Britain.

"And I know for a fact that Lenny McLean had a great deal of respect for both of these.

"So they would regularly fight against gangs.

"I know Alan and John took on a gang of 12 troublemakers once in one of the clubs.

"[Alan] established himself across the country as a real force to be reckoned with."

McLean, who went on to star in a number of films and TV programmes, fell ill with what was later diagnosed as lung cancer.

He died on July 28, 1998, a month before the release of Guy Ritchie's Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, in which he starred.

Featured Image Credit: YouTube/MattLegg/Universal Pictures

Topics: UK News, Boxing, Crime