Gary Stretch (born 4 November 1965) is an English actor, former boxer and former model. Gary Stretch was brought up in the Haresfinch area of St. Helens, Merseyside, where he was born, the son of a plumber.
He attended the town's Cowley High School. A left-handed fighter, Stretch boxed most of his career as a light-middleweight, rising to become British champion in that division. Stretch won the WBC International Light Middleweight title, beating Ramon Angel Alegre at the London Arena on Feb 14th 1990, the fight billed as Valentines Day Massacre.
Stretch stopped the tough Argentine in the 6th round of a very one sided contest. Stretch relinquished the title due to a management dispute with Frank Warren and subsequently sat out his contract. Stretch's return to the ring came in 1991 when he challenged Chris Eubank for the WBO world middleweight championship in London, in a fight billed as "Beauty V the Best".
Stretch suffered a cut behind the ear in the first round and was shaken by an uppercut in the third. Eubank was down twice in the fight, in the second and third rounds, and was cut badly in the fourth round by a straight left hand from Stretch. The doctor was called at the end of round 5 to look at Eubank, (the cut later needed 16 stitches) advising the referee to stop the fight.
The referee gave the Eubank corner the famous 'one more round' advance notice speech. In the sixth round Stretch had a point deducted for pushing Eubank onto the canvas; Stretch was then shaken by a right hand from Eubank and subsequently took a standing eight count. The fight was stopped in Eubank's favor, a stoppage that was very controversial. All three judges had Stretch ahead on the scorecard at the time of the stoppage.
Stretch fought only once more after his bout with Eubank before retiring with a career record of 29 wins 1 loss and 1 NC (an accidental clash of heads causing Stretch to be cut on the forehead). During his time as a boxer, Stretch also worked as a model. His clients included Calvin Klein and Versace. Stretch was cast as Cleitus supporting Sir Anthony Hopkins, Colin Farrell and Angelina Jolie in Oliver Stone's 2004 film Alexander.
Stone went on to cast Stretch again in World Trade Centre as a paramedic, and in Savages. In 2004 Stretch was cast as psychopathic gangster Sonny in Shane Meadows' gritty cult thriller Dead Man's Shoes (2004), for which Stretch received a BIFA nomination alongside fellow English actor Paddy Considine. Stretch also starred in the UK film Freebird in 2008, directed by Jon Ivay. Appearing alongside Phil Daniels and Geoff Bell, the film followed three bikers across a drug-fueled ride in the Welsh countryside.
The film was reviewed by Gary Goldstein of the Los Angeles Times as "tedious". Stretch is currently producing and directing a series of indie films that deal with the psychological aspects of boxing and an inspirational film based on "FAITH". His producing partner is Pete Antico. He resides in London and Los Angeles.
From 1998 to 2001 Stretch was married to actress Roselyn Sánchez.
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