Tony Anthony’s false narrative comes crashing down

I’ve written previously about Tony Anthony, founder of Avanti ministries. He wrote a book called Taming the Tiger which outlines his former life in Kung Fu, and how he came to turn his life around.

Trouble is, parts of his story just don’t add up. He’s supposedly a world champion, but apparently just the world champion of something so obscure that it doesn’t show up under google.

Or all those years he spent having Cantonese beaten into him, yet he can only say a few words of Mandarin – and read practically no Chinese at all, even characters he should be extremely familiar with.

Well, it seems that the truth is finally catching up. Here’s some extracts:

Questions were asked about the authenticity of Taming the Tiger ever since it was first published in 2004. Critics were quick to point out that it reads like a work of fiction; and now an intensive investigation by a group of church leaders suggests that it is just that.

The investigation began after Mike Hancock resigned from his post as a director of Avanti Ministries Ltd, the charitable company set up by Anthony to support his work. Hancock had asked for proof of Tony Anthony’s claims but was met with evasion. “I understood that I had a moral and ethical responsibility to ensure that his story could be thoroughly verified. I was unable to persuade my fellow directors of the need to do this. I therefore resigned from Avanti and pursued the search for truth with other like-minded Christians,” he said.

It’s incredible that his evasions did not trigger red flags with other members of the board.

As a result of the evidence obtained by the church leaders, the Evangelical Alliance launched a formal inquiry which is due to report any time now.

The informal investigators began by rebutting claims made by Anthony in his book.

One of the long-standing objections raised about Tony Anthony’s story is that there is no record, anywhere, to support claims that he won any Kung Fu competition; let alone that he was three-times world champion. Anthony attempts to deal with this criticism on his website, saying: “The competitions that Tony Anthony took part in are over 200 years old – and they are derived from the lineage of ‘Gong So’ who goes back to the Manchu Dynasty. These competitions are held in mainland China and as they are so specialised Tony Anthony have not known them to be publicised outside of the relevant circles, which is another reason why Tony Anthony doubt very much that you would ever find these competitions advertised on a Google search engine.

Yet in the book, it’s hinted that these competitions are quite the opposite – crass and commercial and not a real indication of one’s skill. In fact, some people who’ve approached him claim he says these competitions were illegal backstreet completions.

But scrutiny of the book’s text reveals that many of the passages detailing Kung Fu techniques were copied, wholesale, from a specialist martial arts website. One passage is lifted from a book about Bruce Lee.

I noted myself how parts read like Mr Lee’s wikipedia page.

But Tony Anthony’s story really came apart when the investigators discovered his true identity: he was born Andonis Andreou Athanasiou on 30 July 1971 in London’s University College Hospital. Tony Anthony has now confirmed that this is his true identity.

Having ascertained his true identity the investigators discovered that Tony Anthony could not have been taken to China by his Kung Fu grandfather when he was four: Anthony’s grandfather was a laundry worker in Cardiff who later owned a café in Streatham. He died seven years before Anthony was born.

But many of these details would have been hard to check. However, there’s some material that should have been obvious to check – at least in hindsight.

In the book’s version of the accident, Anthony says that he thought he had hit a “small deer or fox” that had “limped back into the undergrowth” because he had stopped his car and couldn’t see anything on the road.

He says that when he was questioned by police, “We couldn’t tell our story fast enough. No more lies. We were both desperate to spill out details of the dreadful accident. I couldn’t care less about the interrogation. I wanted to die. All I could think about was the woman I had killed.”

But news reports of the police investigation, inquest and trial reveal a very different picture. The woman who died was Elizabeth Bracewell, a 39-year-old girl-guide helper, and sister of the former Everton, Newcastle, Fulham and England footballer Paul Bracewell.

She was discovered in plain view in the middle of the road by a motorist who saw Anthony’s car speed off. And far from admitting the story, Tony Anthony and his wife Sarah told a series of lies and pleaded not guilty when they first appeared in court.

They were both sentenced for perverting the course of justice. The judge, Mr Recorder Stevenson, described Tony Anthony as a “devious and manipulative man” who had “deliberately embroidered his story” to throw police off the scent.

While it could have been difficult to check if he was born where he said he was, and impossible to find out what he might have done while in China, it should have been much easier to get full details of this court case.

But there’s even more basic red-flags than that. This is a guy who, by his own admission, has murdered people. Again, by his own admission He never served time for those killings.

That this fake has spent so long taking money from honest people is a wake-up call. All the signs were there, but no one was willing to ask the hard questions.

Thanks to the reader who emailed the tip.


  1. I was the person who set up a tour of NZ for TA in 2006.

    During the tour, as a team, we began to have serious doubts about not only his story but his personal integrity and honesty.

    Tony thanked us at the end of the tour by plagiarise all the resources from our ministry.

    These resources currently make up 90% of his seminars, DVD’s, and assorted publications.

    This theft confirmed all our worst fears about who, in fact, we’d invited to NZ.

    We’d unwittingly brushed with a monster.

    When challenged, Tony blustered, bob and weaved, and bullied his way out.

    At the moment, the media in the Uk is focussing exclusively on the lies in Taming the Tiger, but have completely missed that facts concerning his resources.

    My prayer is that this omission will not be over looked.

    For years we’ve waited patiently for the truth to come out, or for Tony to repent.

    Well, Tony didn’t repent, and has not repented, but thank God the truth is now out.

    What’s most disturbing is that there are little old ladies all over the world who are supporting Tony on automatic bank payment and who have no idea about anything of what is now breaking.

    Personally, I think the joint statement from Avanti and the Evangelical Alliance was way to watery and insipid, bordering on sham.

    It’s crucial that the name “Tony Anthony Evangelist” is put into the title of any release because so many ‘little old ladies’ are not aware his ministry is called Avanti.

    I also went onto the Premiere radio web site to hear your interview and Tony’s. Can I comment on your interview? The question was asked of you “What would you say to the fact that many people have been saved through Tony’s ministry?” I liked what you said, and I couldn’t have said it better. But can I add this? The word of God does not return void, whether it’s sown by the hand of a farmer who is corrupt, or one who is righteous. It does it’s own work. It’s the same with seed in the natural realm.

    God has allowed Tony to go on for so long neck deep in his self deceit and fraud, corruption and lies, patiently waiting for him to repent.

    He hasn’t so the axe has fallen. Obviously, God’s patience with Tony has been exhausted.

    God will not be mocked forever, and Tony is now testimony to this. Jesus spoke about this clearly in the parable of the man who built his house on the sand.

    What I can’t believe is that in his interview with Victoria on Premier radio, he is still bobbing and weaving and deceiving in his answers, weaving more lies into an existing web to cover up previous lies. Sadly, I think Victoria let Tony off too lightly.

    I also think Authentic media has a lot to answer for. It appears to me that in it’s lust for money, it turned a blind eye to investigating all the doubts about Tony and his story which have been swirling around for years. The company will be hugely embarrassed now, and no doubt will be in damage control mode.

    Clearly, if his interview with Victoria on Premiere radio is anything to go by, the penny has not dropped for Tony that God’s judgement has arrived, and it’s time to fess up, pack up, and go home.

    In my opinion, just how long it takes for Tony to “get it” will depend on where the media, and you, go from here.

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