OLYMPICS: THURROCK boxing ref Mik Basi has spoken of his pride the day his Olympic opening ceremony oath went live to four billion people.

Basi, from North Stifford, was the centre of the world’s attention when he read the historic oath on behalf of all sports referees and officials.

Dressed in his British AIBA boxing jacket and tie he stood on a raised platform to deliver the 37-word oath which pledges Olympic officials will uphold the spirit and letter of their sport honestly and without bias.

He said: “I can honestly say that it was the highlight of my life. I was aware that I was never going to be a part of anything like this again.

“Before reading the oath I was so nervous, but then I took a deep breath and realised what I was about to do. I was so smiley – grinning from ear to ear – at the thought of it.

“I was somehow able to say to myself, ‘just relax and enjoy this.’”

Basi – who has been a top class Three Star boxing ref for many years – has officiated in rings as far afield as South Korea, Kazakhstan, Italy, Turkey, the USA and Mexico.

But he had to pick himself up off the canvas when he was telephoned three weeks ago and asked to represent Games officials at the formal reading, which was first held at the 1972 Games.

“I got the call from the International Olympic Committee.

“I was sworn to secrecy. The call had come out of the blue, but I knew that it was a great honour and would be a big ‘up’ for boxing as a sport.

“I suppose that I was asked because I have spent so much of my life involved with boxing, and much of it very close to where the Olympic boxing is taking place right now. Looking out at all those people was astonishing,” he added.

Mik’s family has a long association with boxing.

His brother, Jumbo, is another top class referee – and a fellow stalwart of the Fairbairn ABC in Ilford where Mik spent his formative years in the sport.

The brothers both did ABA judges and refereeing courses and officiated at hundreds of shows around East London and Essex.

Mik’s reputation as a no-nonsense judge started in the early days.

Together the brothers run an embroidery and printing business in Rainham. Mik Basi believes that the top secret dress rehearsal for the opening ceremony helped his nerves on the big night itself.

“On the read-through our voices were jittery and it was weird reading the oath in front of just a few thousand people with all the workmen still doing stuff to the stadium.”

The Oath states: “In the name of all the judges and officials, I promise that we shall officiate in these Olympic Games with complete impartiality, respecting and abiding by the rules which govern them in the true spirit of sportsmanship.”