Assisting Midlands Ex Boxers And The Community




10pxWelcome to the April edition of our Newsletter, as always
thanks to Craig Birch for his contribution.
Our intrepid Chairman is now back from his trip to America (see Chairman’s Chat), and has been spotted sauntering around Sedgley in denim jeans, occasionally stopping to look at his reflection in the local shop windows whilst practicing his six gun quick-draw technique.
I am hoping that he quickly gets out of this habit, as the thought of him turning up at the next meeting wearing a stetson whilst yelling “Yeee haa, how ya’all doing guys” doesn’t bear thinking about!
Our President Bunny Johnson recently attended a LEBA meeting where Melanie Lloyd launched her latest book in conjunction with James Cook MBE. Several members, Chairman Gary ‘quick on the draw’ Bate and myself attended a similar event in Wolverhampton where Steve Bunce joined James Cook. His autobiography ‘Guardian of the Streets’ promises to be a cracking read, and a percentage of the profits will go to the Pedro Club. .
Our regular Newsletter contributor Craig Birch will shortly be launching his first book entitled ‘Tales From the Top Table’. I have read extracts from the book and again, this promises to be a great read for all boxing fans.
Our next meeting will take place at the Firs Club, Codsall, on Sunday April 28th. Coffee served from 10.30am, meeting starts

Chairman's Chat

at 11.00am prompt.
I am writing to you on my return from visiting our friends across
the pond. My journey to the Southern States was taken with my brother in law Phil, foremost to experience the delights of the South and also to locate the site of a historical boxing match that took place in New Orleans – more about this to follow.
Having sat on the big bird for more than 10 hours, I found

myself exhausted when arriving at Atlanta airport, Georgia. I had been pre-warned by a few folk about the lovely people on border control, which was the first meeting with my American cousins.Four hundred and fifty people disembarked from our aircraft, and who do you think was promptly stopped at the checkpoint? – moi!!!Being one of the first off the plane, I proceeded to hold up the queue of my fellow passengers for 45 minutes. The jolly fellow who detained me was convinced that I had no finger prints- somewhat alien I thought! I spent 30 exciting minutes playing pat-a-cake with the first guard before being escorted to a second guard who also could not recognise my fingerprints, which I was sure were attached to the ends of my fingers when I left England. At this point I was ready to explain that I had spent the previous 10 hours vigorously filing away my prints with P24 sandpaper! Finally, with me not knowing my right hand from my left, he was so exasperated with me, he made up a set of prints for me and sent me on my way, welcome to America!
After picking up my shiny new Ford Mustang convertible (not wanting to stand out, modest as I am) I began my road trip of the South. We set off on our journey to Nashville via Chattanooga, where I purchased my Stetson, cowboy belt and buckle, and now looked like a local! Following a few days in Nashville, we journeyed to Memphis taking in Sun Studios and Graceland, then travelled on to New Orleans via Arkansas and Jackson.



As stated earlier, I wanted to visit the site of the historical boxing bout of 1892 between John L.Sullivan and James J.Corbett. After these two men had officially signed for the fight, the Olympic Club in New Orleans decided to build a brand new arena that was wired with electricity, which was quite astounding for that period in time. The promoter promised 3 days of championship boxing, which came to be known as the ‘Carnival of Champions’. This was the first fight governed by the Queensberry Rules, that was gloved and not bare knuckled, with the battle taking place in Bywater, New Orleans. I found the location where this historical bout had taken place, on the banks of the Mississippi river near Crescent Park. Crescent Park is still there, but unfortunately the Arena is not. Saloons and Lobbies in all of the major American cities were wired for bulletins, and on September 7th 1892 people were anxious to hear news from New Orleans. John L Sullivan was defending the laurels against James J Corbett. One listener with a vested interest was Thomas Rooney of Pennsylvania, who had wagered all of his money and property on Sullivan to Win. When the bout was over and Corbett was announced as the victor by knockout in the 21st round, Rooney committed suicide by poisoning himself.
Look out for the next episode in future editions! .


'Boxing Matters' - by Craig Birch

James DeGale has hung up his gloves safe in the knowledge
that he’s achieved feats that no one can ever take away from him.
Becoming the first boxer to win a world title after taking gold at the Olympic Games is a stand-out accomplishment, one of two reigns as IBF super middleweight champion.
Anthony Joshua may have emulated that deed since, but he can’t claim to be the first. Those bragging rights will always belong to ‘Chunky.’
British and European belts, along with WBA International and WBC Silver baubles, also came the way of DeGale after what was a 10-year pro career.
The last time he was in there was with Chris Eubank Jr for the IBO world strap, with what proved to be the end of the line.
The old DeGale was nowhere to be seen, as the usually slippery southpaw was tagged at will by the younger man. At points, it didn’t look all that much like he was going to make the final bell and there appeared to be next to no

chance he’d win on points.
Eubank’s hand was rightly raised, unanimously, through scores of 117-108, 115-111 and 114-111. Some fans had previously thought DeGale would box his head off.
The beaten challenger had vowed to “knock it on the head” should he be defeated and stayed true to his word, announcing his retirement all of five days later.
The date, 28 February 2019, was exactly 10 years to the day since he turned over, making his pro debut with a points victory over Vepkia Tchilaia.
Having just turned the age of 33, it was most probably the right decision. He’d lost twice before, but time was increasingly not on his side.
He may have namechecked that decade of being a pro as the best years of his life, but that was by no means where DeGale’s journey in the sport began.
The chubby lad who started out, aged 10, was soon dubbed ‘Chunky’ and it’s a nickname that has followed him to this day.
He was already an angry young man, but he found a calling that kept him on the straight and narrow and, most importantly, taught him discipline.
Dad Delroy frogmarched him into the Trojan club in London to give him somewhere to channel his aggression and it’s been his life from there.
Not really the studious type, he instead forged a path between the ropes as a stylish and gifted switch-hitter, seasoned from the path taken since starting out.
DeGale would prove a natural and switched to represent Dale Youth, over in Shepherds Bush, as he stepped up his ambitions.
He soon gobbled up three senior ABA titles and broke through to the England and Great Britain squads, with whom he went to the 2006 Commonwealth Games in Australia.
Bronze there and successive silvers at the European championships got him picked for the 2008 Olympics, where he would go all of the way.

He was, by no means, the favourite to emerge from that 2008 middleweight group in China with top honours. Every bout was rated as, at least, 50-50.
First he dumped out Greek former gold medallist Bakhtiyar Artayev, before going up against the late and tragic Irishman Darren Sutherland. Sutherland had beaten him four times before, while DeGale had defeated him just once. Making it twice made all of the difference.
Then he frustrated Emilio Correa, from the great Olympic boxing nation
of Cuba, in the final to the point where his opponent had two points deducted for biting his shoulder.
Those Games proved to be the crowning glory for
Hammersmith’s finest and brought, in the fight game, all the fanfare that goes with it.
An MBE followed from the Queen in the following New Year honours, at the grand old age of 22, and made him a household boxing name.
He’d battled hard to get that far, but wouldn’t rest on his laurels. With burning ambitions and, by his own admission, an ego to match, he wanted to go where no fighter had gone before.
Going after a second gold medal at the next Olympics played on his mind, particularly in the knowledge that the next Games would take place in his back-yard of England’s capital.
But there had been double boxing gold medallists before, Brit Henry Mallin the first to successfully defend his status in 1920 and 1924. He never laced on a paid glove.
There’s been triple gold stars in Laszlo Papp, Teofilo Stevenson and Felix Savon, all taking their hauls in successive tournaments. Only Papp turned pro and he never

won a world title.
For DeGale to do something no Brit had ever done before as a boxer in the Olympic arena – and emulate those three – would have taken him until he was 30.
There are few rich amateurs, even at the highest level, and DeGale would make millions as a pro. In the end, it proved to be an easy decision.
He said: “I’ve been paid well, but when some boxers tell me what they are getting it’s crazy. I just don’t see how they can make ends meet. I know of some who are on the breadline. “Even fighting for a British title you might get £25,000 top whack, maybe just £10,000 and, in some cases, less if you are down the bill. Say two of them a year.
“When you pay tax, your manager, trainer, corner men and training expenses, it’s nothing if you have a family. You can’t live like that.
“There are very few boxers who don’t have to worry about money. I read that only seven per cent of fighters can retire after their careers and not work again. Compare that to footballers.
“I wanted to win the Olympics in 2012 so bad. Then when Frank Warren came in for me after Beijing, I was this close to staying amateur and going for the gold in London.
“But you have to strike while the iron’s hot. I might have sacrificed all this for the Olympics and I could be knocked out in the first round, I could hurt my hand before, I might not qualify.
“Nothing’s guaranteed. Besides, I’ve done it. Not many can say that. I am in the same bracket as Muhammad Ali, Lennox Lewis and ‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard. That’s some pedigree. “You’ve seen me grow up. I was booed in my first pro fight. It was a bit embarrassing and stupid. It has been a battle to be loved.
“I have been an underdog before. I was 8-1 when I went to the Olympic Games, but I performed and came away with the gold medal.
“I’m a buzz fighter. I like the big audience and the big lights.

It’s a massive stage, boxing in front of millions back home and around the world.
“I owe it everything to my family. I wasn’t a horrible kid, I was just mischievous, full of energy, acting up in class, acting Jack the Lad.
“I got expelled a couple of times, school wasn’t for me, I couldn’t get along with it. I did home tuition for a bit, too, then that all fell through because of my behaviour.
“But, luckily, that’s where boxing came good for me. My dad brought me, thought it might help. He was right. Boxing changed me. If anything, it made me a man.
“I remember the second time I went in the ring to spar, I took a right beating – boom, boom, boom, I got battered. But the weirdest thing was I didn’t mind getting hit.

“My dad tells me the only time he tried boxing, he got hit on the nose and said, ‘right that’s it, I’m out of here.’ He never
went back. “My grandad
loved watching, but I don’t think he ever did it.
None of my brothers tried it. And it scared the living daylights out of my mum.
“She never watched me fight – even in the Olympic final she hid in a
cupboard until dad texted her to tell her it was over, so I don’t know where the gene comes from.
“But the moment I was born, my mum apparently said ‘he’s got big hands and a flat nose, he looks like a boxer.’ Maybe it was there from the start, waiting to be discovered.”

Fast forward to the year 2019 and, literally, just weeks before, DeGale’s bitter rival George Groves also quit boxing at the age of just 30.
The two locked horns, amateur and pro, with Groves
outpointing him twice. Especially now, DeGale won’t get the chance to exact his revenge.
It was at Dale Youth, on the site of the tragic Grenfell Tower, where the two first met. They started out as stable-mates, but were soon at loggerheads.
It first came to a head in the North-West area final of the 2007 ABAs, when they were matched together for the first time.
A see-saw battle ensued that was too close to call. Sportsmanship appeared to reign after the bell, too, when they embraced not once but twice at the final bell.
That was until a wafer-thin points decision went Groves’ way. DeGale will be the first to tell you defeat does not sit well with him. He refused to shake his hand and left the ring.
They went their separate ways and DeGale still became an amateur star, a much-vaunted Olympian who every major promoter in Britain wanted to make a pro superstar.
When he left the unpaid game, it took a deal worth which was reported to be around £1.5million for promoter Warren to win that race.
DeGale signed off with a 79-16 record, so was five bouts short of becoming an amateur centurion. He’d put pen to paper and joined Warren’s camp by the time 2008 was out. The following two years built him up to becoming a creditable contender at domestic level, with Groves another hot prospect in the same division.
Bring born to a Grenadian father and an English mother, winning the British title meant an awful lot to DeGale. Again, he would have to silence a hostile crowd.
The pro Scouse-crowd at the Echo Arena in Liverpool that night towards the end of 2010 were all behind the champion, Paul Smith.
DeGale would prove in the ring that he was a cut above

Smith, who was by no means a walk-over for anyone. A ninth round TKO put him on the map.
Earlier that year, Groves had claimed the Commonwealth crown. A unification bout, even at that early stage of their careers, was big news in 2011.
The 18,000 that filled the 02 Arena in the capital proved just how much the public love a good, old grudge match. Groves would find that out again when he met Carl Froch.
But it proved a nightmare night for DeGale, whose performance didn’t reach the heights that he’d hoped for, even if he’d closed the gap on Groves by the final bell.
Early on, Groves had built a lead that DeGale needed to chase as the two went at each other in a gripping affair.
A late salvo from DeGale looked to have saved the fight, but no one could be absolutely sure where the call was heading. The master of ceremonies kept us all in suspense as he went ‘and the winner, still undefeated.’ A couple of seconds passed before we realised both were unbeaten.
‘Saint George’ he went on. Groves had done it again and it was just as close. One judge had it all square, while the other two had just a round in it. DeGale, once again, was gutted.
A trilogy clash was still being talked about as recently as early this year, but didn’t materialise. Nearly eight years on, DeGale can still feel the pain of coming off second best.
Groves was at ringside for DeGale’s last fight against Eubank Jr, having beaten both men. Upon hearing of his rival’s
retirement, he tweeted that he “wished him well.”
DeGale said: “I still can’t stand him and he can’t stand me. With me and him it is, and always will be, a competition between us.
“He’s done his thing and also won a world title, he doesn’t respect me and we don’t like each other, but I’ll give him a bit of respect for that.
“We were never close, to tell you the truth. We existed, we were both members of the same club, but I never really liked him and he never really liked me. What’s the point of lying? “Losing was bad enough, but losing to George Groves? And

not once but twice? The thought of it still makes me sick to the stomach.
“The arguments went on and a lot of boxing people thought I won both fights, but it’s done and finished with now. I have moved on and, finally, got my shot at a world title.
“It’s healthy to have a rivalry in boxing. You’ve got to have that and I’m lucky, in that, I’ve got somebody I dislike and he dislikes me and we’ve got history.
“It goes back. Me and Groves isn’t like other rivalries out there because this is deep. It was never a build-up rivalry, this is proper.”
Go back to the aftermath of the Groves setback in 2011, when DeGale and Warren were growing increasingly apart. Warren had helped him to rebuild before that year was even out, landing him a shot at European champion Piotr Wilczewski with home advantage.
This time, a thin majority decision went DeGale’s way. Two judges had him a couple of rounds ahead, while the other had it a draw.
He wouldn’t stick with Warren, though, and made the
decision to leave his employ to join Mick Hennessey’s camp at the start of 2012.
Warren leaving Sky Sports to launch BoxNation didn’t sit well with DeGale and Hennessey, who had a deal with Channel Five, was the man who made Froch a superstar.
It’s a decision he insists he doesn’t regret, but regular fights live on terrestrial television was about the only good that came of it.
Suddenly, he was boxing in shopping and leisure centres against nobodies, a long way from the bright lights of London. He won the WBC silver title and defended it three times.
Two years passed before he did what he arguably should have done when he and Warren parted company and signed for Matchroom.
The change was clear to see in his very first fight under
Hearn’s stewardship, appearing at Wembley Stadium of the

under-card of Froch versus Groves.
It wasn’t just a run-out either, as a final eliminator for Froch’s IBF title against the undefeated Brandon Gonzales, who was dropped and halted in the fourth round.
Froch taking a year to decide whether he’d box again – before retiring anyway – held up the IBF crown, which then became vacant.
DeGale was the mandatory challenger and was paired with Anthony Dirrell, but had to go to the US after Hearn lost the purse bids.
That night in 2015 was DeGale’s finest hour since winning Olympic gold, as he deservedly outpointed Dirrell by unanimous decision to win the belt.
He could afford to fade towards the end after establishing a significant lead early on, where Dirrell didn’t look likely to see the finish after being decked twice in the second.
Two scores of 114-112 and one as wide as 117-109 were all for DeGale, who was as happy as could be after reaching the promised land.
He said: “In nine fights I won the British title, a European after 12 and I got my chance at a world title in my 22nd bout. It was a long road and I should’ve had my shot two years before.
“There were reasons why I didn’t go with Matchroom after I left Frank, but I don’t regret my time with Mick.
“I was boxing on terrestrial television, making money and raising my profile, I just wasn’t getting the right opportunities.
“It was hard for me to get up for some of those fights. I had already won Olympic gold and topped the bill in front of 10,000 people against Groves.
“All of a sudden, I was fighting in shopping centres in front of 1,000 and I couldn’t go on like that. It’s a short career and you have to earn as much as you can.
“It’s a cut-throat business and boxers are like pieces of meat to some promoters. When we lose or don’t perform, they want to give us the elbow.

“It’s not all glitz and glamour and bundles of cash. Boxing is not only the loneliest sport in the world, it’s the hardest.
Painful in the ring and out.
“It’s real cut-throat, worse than showbiz for the back- stabbing and bitching. Honestly, you’ve got to look out for yourself, with all the hangers-on around.
“I had my family and a good team around me, people that advised me with money and that, otherwise I’d be skint.
“I told everyone I’d become a world champion, so to prove all the haters that doubted me wrong made all of the hard work to get there worth it.
“I made history, as the first Olympic gold medallist to win a world title, and I could have retired the next day and have been happy and humble. In the end, I decided to go on.” Proceed he did and the big fights in mind were to unify world belts. The opportunity to do that wouldn’t come along immediately.
Still miffed Hearn was beaten to stage his crowning glory and working, he claimed, without a contract, he decided to manage himself and get Al Haymon to promote him overseas.
What first transpired was a tricky-looking test against the still-dangerous Lucian Bute, who had previously held the crown and made nine title defences.
Despite being the champion, DeGale agreed to fight the challenger in his backyard of Quebec, Canada. Bute was six years older, but still stood a puncher’s chance.
DeGale instead completely outboxed him to prevail unanimously by scores of 117-111 twice and 116-112. He’d passed the test with flying colours.
The year 2016 would prove a frustrating one, as a clash with WBC boss Badou Jack continued to fall by the wayside.
DeGale would first face his mandatory, Rogelio Medina, who was drafted in after Jose Uzcategui pulled out with illness.
They met at the Washington Armory.
Another unanimous success – ironically, by the same scores by which he’d downed Bute – would prove to be the last

hurdle before taking on Jack.
The Barclays Centre in Brooklyn was the sort of big arena DeGale wanted for such an occasion and, in early 2017, it became a reality.
An exciting unification slug-fest followed where the two tore into each other, with DeGale setting the tone for drama by sending Jack to the canvas in the first round.
Everything both men had went into the rest of the contest, with Jack finishing strongly and scoring a knockdown of his own in the 12th and last session.
Each had battered the other from pillar to post, with DeGale nursing damage to his ear drum and teeth afterwards. Even with that considered, he’d so nearly done enough.
One judge had it 114-112 to DeGale, but the other two were in agreement about a 113-113 stalemate. The result was a majority draw, so it was honours even.
Warning signs DeGale was considered life after boxing were there with his post-match comments, where he openly wondered how many hard fights like that he had left in him. Once again, he opted to continue and still had the IBF strap to fall back on. He took most of the year to recover and then defended against Caleb Truax in the December.
He would come back to the UK to do so, reuniting with Warren to figure on his show at the Copper Box Arena in London. It would not prove a happy homecoming.
Recent shoulder surgery could well have hampered his progress, but this was one of the times when DeGale really didn’t look himself.
Truax, a former world title challenger down at middleweight but still unheralded as a serious contender, made the most of it.
DeGale had to rely on the judges at the final bell, after 12 disjointed rounds, and probably already knew that none of them favoured him. It was definitely an upset.
Truax had his hand raised by majority decision, scoring 116- 112 and 115-112 in his favour plus a 114-114 draw with one official.

Whether there was a rematch clause or not, Truax took the opportunity of a return provided it would be in the bright lights of Las Vegas.
It was Haymon to the rescue, acting as the advisor for both parties, that made that a reality but it was win or bust for DeGale.
In what was his last great performance on the big stage, DeGale did what was expected of him the first time and came out on top.
Redemption and a second reign came his way unanimously. Two judges had it 114-113, while the other wildly had him up by 117-110. DeGale had been docked a point, too, for use of the shoulder.
He boldly proclaimed he was back, but ensuing events have proved that he wasn’t. An ominous sign was when he vacated the IBF title.
His reason was that he was chasing “massive fights,” instead of giving Uzcategui his re-arranged shot. What that ended up being was a showdown with Eubank Jr, promoted by Richard Poxon.
When that went awry, DeGale was left with nothing but the prospect of another rebuilding process that, this time, he didn’t have the desire for.
Calling time seems to be the right decision, so DeGale’s storied career is now a memory. Many opinions are that he was a grossly under-rated fighter who never quite caught on with the public.
His retirement speech read: “It’s been an unbelievable
journey and I’ve had an amazing decade. If I’m honest, it’s been the best years of my life.
“Having started boxing at the age of nine then being selected as part of the England amateurs squad, I’ve collected many memories along the way.
“I’m proud to say that I’ve made history as the first ever British Olympian boxer to turn professional and to win a world title.
“I’m also proud to have been a road warrior – to travel

wherever I needed to be to fight and to win. There’s nothing left to prove.
“Looking back, if someone had told me at the start of my boxing career, when I was in the England squad, what I’d achieve from there, I would never have believed them.
“I did all of that and I’d like to think I did it the clean, honest and hard way with discipline and respect to the sport I love. “It’s hard to admit that I’m not the fighter I once was, but I’m human. Along the way, my injuries have taken a toll – both on mind and body and this has contributed to my performance in the ring.
“The day after the Eubank fight, someone said to me that one fight does not determine a legacy. A majority of the greats go out on a loss.
“Thank you to each and everyone one of you for the part you have played in my career and in making me THE ROAD WARRIOR, THE HISTORY MAN
“For me, it’s the right time to hang up the gloves and to move on with my head held high. Thank you for the memories – over and out.”
And most boxing fans cannot argue that, at some point or another, they’ve been entertained by DeGale in the ring. He should be remembered for that..







North Staffs News

As per previous years the Association did not meet in the
month of January and at our February meeting it was a pleasure to welcome a new member to the Association namely Chris Dolman who has been a long time stalwart of

Midlands Boxing and had served the British Boxing Board of Control for approximately twenty years.
The Annual General Meeting of the Association also took place at our February meeting and which resulted in the current Committee of Jimmy Stubbs (President), Gary Marston (Chairman), Richard Vaughan (Secretary), John Greatbatch (Treasurer) and Harry Foxall (Official Timekeeper) being voted in to serve another year in Office. This year the Association celebrates its 50th Birthday and although no official function to celebrate this will be held the Association plan to attend as many events held by other Associations, depending on time and the health of the membership.
Should there be anybody with a passion for our great sport who wishes to join our friendly, welcoming Association please feel free to contact Secretary Richard Vaughan on 07985 468004 or by e-mail at




Welcome to the latest edition of our newsletter. As always, thanks to Gary Bate and Craig Birch for their contributions. N.B. Our next meeting will be held at the Firs Club, Codsall, this coming Sunday 30th September. Coffee served from 10.30am, meeting starts At 11.00am. This will be last meeting before our AGM that will take place in November/December. If any members wish to stand for election as an officer of the Association please let me know asap. ********** Well the dust has settled, the show is over, the Hall of Fame Awards luncheon is done for another year. Many thanks to the members who helped on the day, including of course Mick Bird. Mick, fag in hand, arrived at my house at 9.00a.m. and helped to load his vehicle with boxes, bottles, and bags galore before we set off to drive into the wilderness of Cannock with another ‘snout’ in hand. (Micks’ slang for a fag)  Mick, who is of  course a Cannock lad himself, drove the back way, along country lanes where town folk fear to tread, until we eventually reached the relative safety of Bar Sport and civilisation. We opened the back doors of the vehicle, and Mick (with another snout in hand), started to empty his vehicle whilst I ran up and down the stairs carrying boxes like a ‘pack hoss’! Having seen the beads of sweat running from my brow, Mick had a brainwave and attempted to plug in the electric chair lift in an effort to assist me carrying the loads. I wasn’t sure  if he wanted me to sit on the chair with a box on my lap, or maybe he was just going to place the boxes on the chair. I thought it best not to do this, I’d never live it down if word got out that I needed a chairlift to run up and down stairs! Undeterred, we completed the task with gusto, and whilst I started to move on to the next job in hand, getting more stressed by the minute, Mick went outside to move his vehicle, and of course to have another ‘snout’. Brian, Joe and Gary rolled up shortly afterwards, and between us we managed to get relatively organised and ready on time. PJ had the task of picking up Bunny and Maisie who arrived in good time to help meet and greet. The day wasn’t perfect, but we did our best, and a special thanks must go to Rachel from Bar Sport who was a fantastic help. Again, thanks to Mick, Brian, Gary and Joe, and good luck to the Essex lads who are running the event next year.

3 Amigos


North Staffs lads along with two of the inductees – Nigel Rafferty and Mike Shinfield

Shaun Messer trying to find out if his fingers would touch in the middle if he inserted one in each of Garys’ ears!


Bunny and Maisie enjoying their afternoon

Handing the trophy over to Tommy Burling and Ray Lee from Essex EBA.


Some bloke hogging the microphone!


Mick having just got back from having a snout with Ken Buchanan

From The Chairman's Pen

I hope that this Newsletter finds you all in good health as Autumn is fast approaching.

Congratulations to Jason Welbourne for the second time after getting the decision again over Tommy Langford on the Amir Khan bill here in Birmingham.

On Saturday 15th September Nina Bradley fought Feriche Mashauri for the vacant female Commonwealth super-lightweight championship, congratulations to Nina on winning.

Midlands boxing is on a all time high at the moment, Errol Johnson is putting on shows nearly every week. Who said boxing is on the decline?

Hope to see you all at the next meeting. Yours in sport.


Snappers Snippets

This month I’m bringing you the great news from Wolverhampton Boxing Club.

We have a small team of volunteers at WBC who give their time and skills freely. Richard Carter’s terrific input with our young people is producing fantastic results.

Here are our most recent achievements:-

Fri 21 Sept Jack Dean Chard went to Huddersfield and beat his opponent Haris Ajaz on home turf with a majority decision.

Congratulations to Lucy Caldicott (15) who fights at 45kg. She has been put forward to the quarter finals, is now Midland Champion and can now proudly wear her white England top.

Bobby Speed (14) also got through on the same weekend at a weight of 51.8k, and is now in the final.

Our last gold medalist Ryan Coterill who is now in the GB squad will be competing at the NAB bouts this year.


In total WBC now has 12 carded boxers all progressing in their own divisions. Well done to all these boxers and special thanks to all the team at WBC.

North Staffs News


In the last couple of months the Association has welcomed two new members in the shape of former professionals George Salmon & Keith Nugent who were stablemates during their respective careers.

George who boxed from 1973-1978 compiling a record of 15-21-3 and only failing to hear the final bell on one occasion was the first to take Dave Boy Green the distance and shared a ring with  quality performers such as Jimmy Batten, Tony Poole & Steve Angell to name a few. On joining George said he would try and persuade Keith Nugent to join the Association and lo and behold Keith attended our August meeting and said afterwards that he had thoroughly enjoyed himself and wished that he had attended a meeting sooner than he had done. Keith who boxed from 1973- 1975 compiling a record of 7-16-2 was never stopped and challenged for the inaugural Midlands Area Light Middleweight Championship in December 1974 losing on points to John Laine of Grimsby. Keith is the Head Coach of Hulton Abbey Amateur Boxing Club based in Hanley and who hold their first tournament of the new Season on Friday 26th October 2018 and which the Association will support with as many members as possible.

George boxed Mick Hussey on two occasions who is a member of the Croydon EBA and Keith boxed Mick Hinton also a member of Croydon EBA on two occasions with the hope that at some stage in the future these former opponents can meet again.

The most pleasing side of these two gentlemen joining the Association is that George’s wife Lorna said that him mixing with boxing people again has been very good for George and a sure sign that Ex Boxers Associations are the place for anybody who cares about the sport.

On a brighter note the Association hope to hopefully visit some other Associations in the months ahead, health permitting of course and should there be anybody with a passion for our great sport who wishes to join our friendly, welcoming Association please feel free to contact Secretary Richard Vaughan on 07985 468004 or by e-mail at




Welcome to the latest addition of our Newsletter. As always, thanks to Craig Birch, and also to Frank O’Sullivan for his contribution this month.

The Hall of Fame arrangements are coming along well. I am in regular contact with Tommy Burling from Essex EBA who will be hosting next year’s event.

N.B. Our next meeting will take place on Sunday 13th May at the Firs Club, Codsall. Coffee served from 10.30am, meeting starts at 11.00am prompt.

Paul Nutting

A small delegation of Central Midlands EBA members recently attended a boxing dinner show at the Burlington Hotel where Birmingham City Boxing Club competed against an Irish contingent from Dungarven and a Glen Boxing Club Select.


As always when we choose to attend an event, things didn’t run entirely to plan.

After a few beers at the bar, I was introduced to the inimitable Dr Antonio G. Farruggia Bochnak, (a name to remember).

Unfortunately Antonio had forgotten the seating plan for the guests, but undeterred, he leapt up onto the nearest chair, and proceeded to shout guests’ names and table numbers with gusto. (I could sense I was going to like this guy). The three course meal was excellent, we had just finished dessert and the dishes were all but cleared when our President Mr Bunny Johnson nonchalantly strolls into the room just over two hours late. I told Bunny that he had now missed the excellent meal due to being late, however ‘Mr Cool’ explained to a couple of

waitresses that he was ‘really hungry’, and suddenly he was presented with a hot main course dinner! Dr Antonio G. Farruggia Bochnak (the name just rolls off the tongue) was flitting between tables, spotted Bunny, and proceeded to have an imaginary conversation over his walkie talkie with Frank

O’Sullivan informing him that Bunny had arrived. As Antonio moved on to the next few tables, a couple of guests informed him that the price tags were visibly hanging out from his jacket and trousers. Unabashed, he readily explained that the suit was going straight back to store on Monday as he had no intention of actually buying it (this guy was becoming a legend)! Despite a few minor hiccups with lighting etc. the boxing and evening in general was very enjoyable, and Birmingham won the match 8 – 4.

Well done Frank, and of course well done Antonio on being a great host.

From The Chairman's Pen

I hope that this newsletter finds you all fit and well.

Boxing is booming here in the Midlands at the moment with at least six shows a month taking place.


We received sad news recently that Chris Edwards, one of the Midlands finest champions had passed away at just 41 years of age. The customary ten bells have been sounded at various venues across the country to mark the passing of a true champion.

Errol Johnson ran a good entertaining ten bout show at the Genting Arena recently, and is promoting a show at Walsall Town Hall on May 4th. Top of the bill is Tommy Langford v Jason Welborn in a British title clash.

The Hall of Fame event is slowly coming together and promises to be a great day out.

One of our members may be appearing on a new T.V. baking show, Snapper Bate will be able to put you in touch with the member to swap recipes!

I had a chat with Bunny a few weeks ago, he appeared to be in good humour and informed me that the Jamaican Labour party was doing fine.

Yours in sport Martin Florey

'Boxing Matters' - by Craig Birch

George Groves deserves credit for how he’s bounced back from three world title disappointments and tragedy in the ring before reaching the promised land.

It’s testament to ‘Saint George’ that he’s come up short twice against Carl Froch for a world title – and also to Badou Jack – and still reached the top.

The road back was a long one and, when he came to Bar Sport, he was the reigning WBA ‘super’ champion and the No 1 super middleweight in the world with the Ring Magazine.

The visit Cannock was four days shy of his 30th birthday, as an elder statesman of the division, a 10-year pro with that milestone to be reached on November 15.


He’s the epitome of how determination can beat the odds, after Froch twice took him out and Jack squeezed past him on points. The first time with Froch, at the Manchester Arena in late 2013, was so controversial a stoppage that a rematch simply had to happen.

Hot favourite Froch, defending his IBF and WBA belts, was down in the first round, from overhand right that dropped him heavily. Undoubtedly hurt, he was saved by the bell.

Groves, who was 11 years younger than Froch at the time, became only the second man to put him on the canvas, after Jermain Taylor.

But back came Froch and he forced the finish in round nine, with a barrage of right hands to the head and body that left a tiring Groves on unsteady legs.

He went to clinch but fell short, walking onto more right hands from Froch. In jumped referee Howard Foster, literally grasping Groves in a headlock to separate the two.

Groves was incensed, insisting he was fine to continue, and was ahead on all three scorecards. Two judges had him 76-75 up, the other 78-73.

He immediately chased a rematch and the IBF, who made Groves mandatory challenger for the clash, ordered in early 2014 for Froch to fight him within 90 days or vacate their title. The return was at Wembley Stadium, which was hosting boxing for the first time since it reopened in 2007, with a post-war British record of 90,000 fans turning out to watch.

Due to the finish of the first encounter, the crowd were on

Groves’ side. Froch got on top, but there wasn’t much between them.

That was until Froch threw a left hand, which landed on the gloves, but put Groves wide open for a right hook that flattened him. He attempted to stand up, to no avail.


Froch had put an exclamation mark on their feud, in a round less than their previous meeting, with 17 seconds left of the eighth.

There could be no argument this time.

He was ahead on points, this time, leading 67-66 with two judges and the other going with Groves 68-65. The finish was as emphatic as they come.

Groves returned to action after the two’s defining moment, for the European and WBC Silver belts four months, later.

He showed he was a cut above Christopher Rebrasse at Wembley Arena, unanimously on points by two verdicts that were 118-110 and one of 117-111.

The dynamite in his fists returned in flashes putting up the WBC Silver bauble against Denis Douglin, who was trained by his mother Saphya. ‘The Momma’s Boy’ was finished in seven.

Jack won the WBC crown from Anthony Dirrell in 2015 and Groves was made mandatory challenger, with the two meeting at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas on September 12 of that year. Groves took the fight to Jack in the first, only to be wobbled by a straight right hand to the jaw. He took a knee and both gloves touched the floor.

He’d regrouped by the second and a technical tit-for-tat encounter ensued, From there until the final bell, neither man shied away so there was plenty of entertainment value.

The scorecards were called for, with a split decision recorded. The knockdown wasn’t that telling, with tallies of 116-111 and 115-112 for Jack, One had Groves up by a round, 114-113.

The beaten contender stormed out of the ring, feeling he had done enough to force a changing of the guard and knowing another rebuilding process was afoot.

It took all of 2016 to shuffle back into the pack and a third world title setback led to a third coach, joining up with Shane McGuigan after Paddy Fitzpatrick and Adam Booth.


Groves returned against Andrea Di Luisa, who had the towel thrown in for him during the fifth, and then claimed a WBA International strap.

It came against the grossly untested David Brophy, who was overwhelmed in four.

Martin Murray, with those WBA International honours on the line, would be a much bigger test.

It was make-or-break stuff for both parties, but it was Groves who got over the line as the deserved winner over the four-time world title challenger. All three judges had it 118-110.

He finished his year with another defence of the WBA International title against Eduard Gutknecht. The tragic side of boxing would rear its ugly head again.

He had hammered away at a bloodied and swollen Gutknecht in the later rounds, but he saw the final bell. One sided cards were 119-109 twice and 119-110 for Groves.

Gutknecht collapsed in the dressing room after the fight and slipped into a coma. He went on to suffer multiple strokes and was unable to walk or talk. The trauma got to Groves.

There would be little time to get out of a fighting mindset, though. All of 19 days later, it was confirmed Groves would vie with Fedor Chudinov for the vacant WBA ‘super’ title.

Felix Sturm had dropped the belt through injury, after beating Chudinov to make it ‘one one’ between the two. Groves, rated No 3 by the WBA, was preferred over Stanislav Kashtanov.

Groves had to get his mind on the job, whatever had regrettably happened to Gutknecht, before him and Chudinov got it on.

The date 27 May 2017 is one that Groves will never forget. This time, he would not be denied, no matter how hurt he was.

He broke his jaw in round three and was cut above his eye in the fourth, but Groves was walking through walls. He trapped Chudinov in the sixth and let fly, forcing the finish.


Only Frank Bruno springs to mind when you think of an Englishman who had gone all around the houses before getting there, but Groves was finally a world champion.

He said: “My first spar back, after getting chinned by Froch, was a few rounds against Gennady Golovkin. After two days, he broke my rib.

“I’d gone out to where he was (Big Bear, California), which was 8,000ft above sea level. I’d done a few hill sprints and got a bit sunburnt, so I was still out of shape.

“Both of us were told to wear body belts, but I didn’t think I needed one and lived to regret it. We were going home after that.

“Rebrasse was a good opponent, he took an awful lot of punches. I gave it a real good go, but I didn’t manage to get him out of there.

“The WBC title was my target, at that point, and Anthony Dirrell was the champion until he lost it to Jack. I got Douglin, in the meantime, and it was good to knock someone out.

“It might be nice to go out and watch boxing in Vegas, but it’s a bit soulless fighting there. You’re not really treated that well.

“I was trying to get into my changing room and had problems getting past the security guard, because I didn’t have the right credentials. Their rules are their law.

“Jack was the only time where I felt like I’d blew it. If it hadn’t been for that flash knockdown, I think I’d have got the win. That was the lowest point of my career.

“I had cabin fever, I’d been in America for two months before the fight and I was desperate to get the job done and get home. “When I boxed Jack, he was a nothing compared to the contender is now, so I felt like I’d let myself down. It wasn’t a good feeling.

“Di Luisa was my first time under Shane and I think I boxed well. I felt sharp and dictated the pace from the get go.


“Brophy was an unknown quantity, it was more comfortable than Di Luisa and the body shot that finished it I’d been working on with Shane.

“I knew what Murray was about, he’s a skilful fighter and he was never going to let the occasion get to him. I landed big blows and hurt him, but he’s gritty and that got him through.

“Nick Blackwell was already in a similar situation to Eduard, after his fight with Chris Eubank Jnr, and I’d pretty much done all of all of his sparring for that, so it was close to home.

“Then it happens to me and it’s sad and tough to deal with. The best and most efficient way to be is emotionally detached to boxing, because it’s a sport and a business.

“What happened with Eduard does frequently cross my mind, but I needed to carry on boxing. Selfishly, while I’m still fighting I’m always going to struggle with his situation.

“It’s a horrible thing and it’s very distressing. I feel for him and his family. They don’t blame me and to be relieved of that sort of guilt was a wonderful thing that they didn’t need to do.

“I had to put it behind me, I had another world title shot. Winning the belt, at last, was the greatest feeling I could have in boxing. I was sick of feeling sorry for myself about the past.

“It was a long time coming and to go out and finally get one, rather than have to make excuses, and it was do or die stuff. “Chudinov was easy to hit, but was a lot stronger than I thought. I found that out. He throws this weird punches, where his arms don’t move much and his fists come over the top.

“He hit one in the third and I heard this crunch. I’d broken my jaw before, fighting for England in Poland as an amateur, so I knew what it was. I left my gum-shield in between rounds. “We clashed heads in the fourth, which left me with blood

coming into my eye, but it was now or never. I don’t think I would have come again.


“Even if my body was up for carrying on, my brain wouldn’t have been had I lost. It would have been the hardest thing I’d ever done.

“The best commentary I’ve ever had was on that fight – and it came from Froch. He was nice about me. I’d have never thought that.”

Now a man on top, Groves’ focus hasn’t yet been about unifying the belts at 168lbs.

He’s not even the only super middleweight world champion with the WBA, as he holds ‘super’ status.

Regular champion Tyron Zeuge is in possession of the other strap, while WBO boss Gilberto Ramirez is the first Mexican title holder at the weight. David Benavidez is the WBC ruler.

Of interest to Groves will be the outcome when the IBF crown is next contested, as his long-standing rival James DeGale tries to get his revenge on Caleb Truax.

Groves still has his next defence and the final of the World Boxing Super Series to contend with first, with the decider against fellow Englishman Callum Smith set for July 14.

It will be his third world title defence, at the 02 Arena in London where he outpointed DeGale in 2011 to cement his path towards the top level.

The Super Series first saw him vanquish Jamie Cox, with a picture perfect right hand to the body, in just the fourth round. A hotly-anticipated clash with Chris Eubank Jr saw both his opponent and his father, former world champion Chris Eubank Snr, promise much but deliver little on fight night.

Groves, who boxed the 12th with a dislocated shoulder that delayed his fight with Smith, saw off a bloodied Eubank convincingly and unanimously.

Eubank’s IBO world title was never on the line, claimed the

organisation’s president Ed Levine, after an agreement could not be reached on sanction fees.

It didn’t detract from Groves’ success, though, with scores of 117-112, 116-112 and 115-113 all going his way. The inaugural Muhammad Ali Trophy is now in his sights.
Groves said: “I’m the top seed, so I could pick my first opponent. I went with Jamie Cox, as he was the one I knew the most about. We used to be amateur team-mates for England.
“I’ve always been alright against southpaws, he walked onto a few body punches and I knew one or two more would put him down and for good.
“The last shot, every now and again you get one that really smashes in and you can almost hear the air coming out of someone.
Jack Groves“I walked back to the corner and span around to have a look, but I knew he wasn’t getting up. It was a sweet shot.
“Everyone seemed to be fascinated about the Eubank fight and,
as always, there were plenty of boxing experts out there that thought he was going to win. “It left me scratching my head, wondering what I’d missed. I knew a lot about him, as I’d sparred him, and knew he hadn’t been trained right

“I talked about pedigree in the build-up and I should have made it clearer, I was talking about the opposition I’d boxed, both amateur and pro.

“His dad stood up at one press conference and talked about his son’s engine. He can throw more punches than me, he’s a fit lad. The argument continued about hand speed and power.

“Then apparently he has a granite chin, just like his dad, that no one has ever hit him on. You can’t pass that down the family.

Finally, ‘it’s because he’s a Eubank.’ I just laughed.

“If I was on form, I was always going to beat him, and it ended up just feeling like another day at the office. I never had to get out of second gear.

“He let on he was going to fight, for every second of every round, and that was a daunting prospect. I like to stay in my comfort zone, I don’t over-exert myself and waste punches.

“I thought it would be a difficult night having to shut him down, but he really struggled. I was waiting for the wave of pressure that didn’t come.

“For a start, he has bad footwork. He needs you to engage with him, because he can’t close the distance and get himself into range unless you do.

“My jab is better than his, which always allows you to set shots up and let your hands go on the back of that. He was launching in, throwing wild punches and falling over his front foot. “Whatever he wanted to do, I didn’t let him do it, even in the last round. Right at the start of that, I felt my shoulder pop out and then pop back in. All I could was jab to the finish.

“The prospect of winning the tournament by beating three British fighters should tell everyone that I’m the best super middleweight in the UK.

“I’ve only sparred with Callum Smith once, for a couple of

rounds, and there wasn’t really much you could take from it. Like with Eubank, you win nothing in the training ring.

“I don’t think Callum is as good as what he could be. He hasn’t had the tests he should have and gone a bit stale because of that. He’s not looked brilliant so far.
“It might have come too late for him, he’s been a prospect for
some time now and has yet to make that step up. He hasn’t had to box under pressure, which could work against him.
“I’ve supposed to have been his stepping stone for years and now he’s got his world title shot, which he’s been waiting the same amount of time for.
“He’s not boxed anyone who is as good as me. I believe I’ve got his number and will beat him well. Surely I can’t be the underdog for this one as well.”
Groves believes he’s now got the right leadership behind him, with McGuigan in his corner as the man who helped him win that elusive world title.
He started out in the pro ranks with Booth, the highlight of their working relationship that victory over DeGale that put Groves on the map as a pro.
Jack-Groves-2The two fell out when Froch was on the horizon and in came Fitzpatrick, who carried the can for both defeats against ‘the Cobra’ and
the loss to Jack.
Groves said: “I had a bust up with Adam. I felt like my one pro coach had abandoned me, which was hard to swallow. I think I ended up papering over cracks.

“Fitzpatrick started training me for the first Froch fight. We’d only been working together for weeks, rather than months, for it, too.

“Things snowballed after that, I was trying to get Froch again and didn’t have time to assess whether he was the right coach for me.

“We then failed spectacularly in the rematch and that was when I should have made the change, but didn’t.

“I had a couple of fights before another world title shot and, each time, I was getting progressively worse and picking up bad habits.

“Win or lose, Jack was always going to be my last fight with Fitzpatrick, even if he didn’t want to acknowledge that fact. “We’ve had our differences, it was a bit disappointing how he slated me after. He’d gone from running an amateur club in Swindon to working with a guy fighting for a world title.

“There aren’t that many good reputable boxing coaches in the world – let alone in London or the UK – so it’s tough to make those decisions.

“I looked around at the boxers who fought like I wanted to be like and then saw how their coach was. I was impressed by Carl Frampton, so that meant Shane McGuigan.

“Shane encourages me to box like I did when I was on the rise, punching hard and fast and trying to win in dramatic fashion. He understands me.

“I’m not a huge combination puncher, but I have the power to get the job done if I hit you once. I want to fight by throwing

short, sharp and hard blows.”







North Staffs News

The month of March saw the Association hold its Annual General Meeting with the current Officers being voted in for another year plus the creation of an additional position that being of Official


Timekeeper for our meetings. The ideal candidate for this position was Harry Foxall, a former BBBofC Timekeeper and who rang the bell for the first Nigel Benn v Chris Eubank bout. Harry accepted the nomination of his fellow members with considerable pride and although he retired from Board duties some eight years ago he certainly has not lost the art of ringing a bell.

At the end of March the city of Stoke on Trent lost one of its greatest sporting heroes in Chris Edwards a former English, British & Commonwealth Flyweight Champion and outright winner of the Lord Lonsdale Challenge Belt and former British Super Flyweight Champion who passed away suddenly at the age of 41. The passing of Chris has devastated so many people within the boxing fraternity and further afield and not least our President Gary Marston who introduced Chris to boxing and who undoubtedly led Chris down a better path in life than the one he was taking. On Saturday 7th April 2018 at the Kings Hall, Stoke on Trent a venue which Chris had boxed at on seven occasions a ten bell salute was rung for Chris and which was impeccably observed by all those in attendance. The funeral for Chris will take place on Wednesday 9th May 2018 at 11.30am at St Paul’s Church, 131 Longton Hall Road, Stoke on Trent ST3 2EL and at which no doubt there will be a massive turnout

followed by a celebration of Chris’s life at the Kings Hall, Glebe Street, Stoke on Trent.

On a brighter note the Association hope to hopefully visit some other Associations in the months ahead, health permitting of course and should there be anybody with a passion for our great sport who wishes to join our friendly, welcoming Association please feel free to contact Secretary Richard Vaughan on 07985 468004 or by e-mail at


A Boxing Alphabet By Frank O'Sullivan MBE

A – Accuracy, the first lesson to heed – know just what you’re aiming at each time you lead

B – Stands for Balance, both feet on the floor: it’s balance that counts when you lead to the jaw.

C -is for Circling, if circle you must: to your right or his right makes YOU bite the dust.

D – Is for Defence, with your “cushion” in place, to cover the “wind” and the ribs and the face

E – stands for Eyes – watch your man eye to eye, unceasing, like a spider that’s after a fly.

F – is for Footwork – attack or defend, to good solid base you must always attend.

G – for the Grit that you need in the ring: stick out and don’t show that his punches have sting.

H – for the Handshake at the start of the match – Be sporting: shake heartily – not just a snatch.

I – for the Interval, seconds three score – relax and breathe deeply, then ready for more.

J – for the Judgement that has him at sea, not sure what your next little moves going to be.

K – for the Knockout beloved by the ‘pro’s’ – WE’RE after the points that the judges’ card shows.

L – for the Loser still smiling and bright – you’ve lost: never mind, for you put up a fight.

M – for the Mind that must work out a plan that feet and hands execute, beating your man.

N – for the Nose that when hit starts to bleed; so next time your guard must be moved with  more speed

O – for the Opening that YOU’VE got to make, for lead or for counter that makes no mistake.

P – for the Points that you try to collect, with straight lefts and rights that are timed to connect.


Q – for the Quickness of hand, foot and eye, and mind – of all three the directive ally.

R – for the Right, your defence to arrange – when in with the left, it attacks for a change.

S – for the Science pervading the game – you’re boxing, not fighting: they aren’t quite the same.

T – for the Training for even one round – you won’t stand the pace if your wind is not sound.

U – for the Upsetting tactics applied: Result? Your opponents attack has gone wide.

V – for the Verdict you take with a smile: or winning or losing, the match was worthwhile.

W – for the Weakness you’re probing to find, in HIS opposition, but watch for the blind.

X – for eXcel, a motive that’s pure, the one thing to aim for, that’s for sure.

Y – stands for Youth – now’s the time to apply, the training of character, ere the years fly.

Z – is for Zeal that I hope you will show – the game asks – and gives – all the best that you know.



Welcome to the latest edition of our Newsletter.
Once again thanks to Craig Birch and Gary Bate for their
contributions, and a special thanks to Frank O’Sullivan for
furnishing me with the information regarding the article below.
N.B. Our next meeting will be held on Sunday 2nd July at the
irs Club. Coffee served from 10.30am, meeting starts at
11.00am prompt.

Tim O’sullivan,
President of Cork
Ex Boxers
Association makes
a presentation
to Frank O’sullivan
of Birmingham City
Boxing club in the
presence of Mick
O’Brien, President
of Cork County
Boxing Board.
At a recent Grays’ Promotions Luncheon, I bumped into coaching
legend Frank O’Sullivan. During our conversation
Frank mentioned the Cork Ex Boxers Association, established in
1972 but I wasn’t aware even existed! Next time I’m over the
water I may well head towards Cork and pay these lads a visit!
Frank is now affectionately known as ‘Sir Frank’ by many
Corkonians since he was awarded the MBE, and he has
furnished me with some information regarding boxing in his
former home city.
In 2016 the boxing community of Cork celebrated the 150th
Anniversary of the birth of their only World Boxing Champion
Jack McAuliffe. Just before his 10th birthday Jacks’ family
emigrated to New York where he quickly developed a talent for
boxing. Just two years after his debut he secured the World
Lightweight Championship with a KO in the 21 st round. Jack
quickly developed a taste for the high life, loved a flutter, and
often came in heavier than planned. (sound familiar?) One of his
most famous contests was against Jem Carney. The location of
the bout remained a closely guarded secret to keep one step
ahead of the law, it took place at 1 .00am in a rural area of
Massachusetts. McAuliffe was all but finished in the 70th round,
but an unruly mob frightened of losing their wagers brought him
some time. Fearing the arrival of the constabulary the referee
stopped the fight in the 74th round and declared it a draw. His
record stands at 31 wins, 5 draws and no defeats.

After his retirement Jack became a successful businessman and
championed many worthy causes and charities in New York.
During our conversation ‘Sir Frank’ informed me that he had
taken lads from Birmingham B.C. across to Cork for a
tournament to help celebrate the famous Glen Boxing Club
centenary 1916 – 2016. In true Irish style, this tournament took
place in January 2017!
A huge crowd attended the event with many dignitaries being in
attendance, and the tournament was widely covered by the local
Frank still retains a close relationship with his city of birth, and
upon scanning through some of the reading material that he
kindly loaned, I was amazed as to how many of the boxing
community’s surnames were O’Sullivan (many of whom bear an
uncanny resemblance to Frank)!
Here’s hoping that this special bond continues for many years to

From The Chairman's Pen

Well I can confirm the sun is still shining in Cuba, and would like
to wish a sunny congratulations to Ray Caulfield LEBA
Secretary/Treasurer, having been granted ‘Freedom of the City of
London’ for his charity work – a well deserved honour.
This year’s golf day will take place on the 21 st July at Dudley Golf
Club. After the presentation there will be a disco, please come
along and support this event which promises to be a good day
out. I am sure that you will be impressed with ‘Mad Dog Messers’
new moves on the dance floor, if you wish to put a team together
please ring Shaun on 07900 684323.
Congratulations to Tyler Denny on the success of winning his first
belt on the Les Allen show at the Venue in Dudley, well done
trainer Lyndon and all of the team at Coop’s Gym. Maybe the
Midlands’ Area Title will be next!


‘An evening with John Conteh’ will
be held at Dudley Golf Club on
Friday the 10th November 2017.
Limited seats are available, to book
ring Shaun Messer on 07900684323.
Yes, this is a photo of a very young
SHAUN MESSER – participating in
yet another sport!
Stay well, look forward to seeing you
all at the next meeting ………… .
Yours in sport

'Boxing Matters' - by Craig Birch

British boxing’s two top promoters are starting to go head-tohead
on television as the battle for supremacy between Eddie
Hearn and Frank Warren goes on.
Hearn’s Matchroom have held a formidable monopoly since
they became the sole provider for the sport on Sky in 2011 .
Warren’s BoxNation was given a shot in the arm when they
signed a deal with BT Sport, a multi-year agreement, last
The year 2017 has so far seen that pact take effect, along with
Anthony Joshua versus Wladimir Klitschko in front of 90,000
people at Wembley Stadium.
That was a week after when, on April 22, Matchroom and
BoxNation went head-to-head for the first time, in Liverpool and
Leicester respectively.
Matchroom viewers watched Martin Murray outpoint Gabriel
Rosado for the WBA Inter-Continental middleweight title at the
Echo Arena.
The BoxNation audience at the Leicester Arena saw Avtandil
Khurtsidze stop Tommy Langford in five rounds for the interim
WBO world middleweight crown.
It happened again on May 13, with Matchroom at the Barclaycard
Arena in Birmingham and BoxNation at the First Direct Arena in
The Matchroom bill saw Kai Yafai successfully defend his WBA
world super flyweight belt against Suguru Muranaka, while Josh
Warrington beat Kiko Martinez elsewhere.
Warrington defected to BoxNation from Matchroom, a path that
had so often become the other way around in recent years.
Kell Brook, James DeGale, Tony Bellew, George Groves, Dereck
Chisora, Frankie Gavin, Frank Buglioni and Nathan Cleverly to
name but a few have made the switch.
Hearn has built up a position of power but knows he cannot rest
on his laurels now, particularly with Warren creeping up on him.
He doesn’t believe that the head-to-head nights are premeditated
and warned that ‘Saturday night wars’ will not turn out
well for either party.
He said: “Moving forward, I think it’s better for everyone if we are
not on the same night. No one wins in that scenario.
“There’s only one boxing audience, so it doesn’t really make
sense for two channels to go up against each other.
“I don’t think it’s deliberate from either side and, in the future, I
hope that we’ll talk more to make sure the fans can watch both
“It makes sense, competition is good but we should be on
different nights. Sometimes you can’t help it, but it shouldn’t be a
regular occurrence.
“We have dialogue between the channels, we know all of the
executives at BT Sport and they know their counterparts at Sky
Sports. It’s common sense.
“They are new to the schedule, but the strategy should be to go
on different nights. We are both trying to put on good shows,
which is great for boxing.
“Other broadcasters have come in, ITV and Channel Five have
dipped their toes in it, but I don’t think you’ll see the same
commitment from them as you will from BT Sport.
“They are in this for the long haul, rather than coming in and out,
which has been the situation for a number of years.
“Our stable and content is unrivalled, so I don’t see it as a threat
really but it’s easy to get complacent if there’s no competition.
We’ll carry on pushing ourselves to deliver great fights and
maybe it’s a little kick up the backside to make sure we keep
smashing it.”
Before BT Sport came calling, Hearn raised Warren’s ire by
threatening to put on Joshua on at Wembley on the same night of
the Tyson Fury-Klitschko rematch last July.
Neither ended up happening, with Warren’s shows now on a
major channel again for the first time since he left Sky nearly six
years ago.
He’s building for the future, too, with the likes of Daniel Dubois,
Anthony Yarde, Jack Catterall and Lyon Woodstock looking like
nailed on stars of the future.
They haven’t sold out Wembley, Hearn will be all too eager to
point out, but Warren believes they will get the upper hand, in the
They have Fury, who claims to despise Hearn, ready to fight
under their banner if he gets his boxing ban lifted and a
promising heavyweight in Dubois, who is just 19, coming
Warren agrees the fans will end up the big winners, with him and
his rival constantly looking to outdo each other with big fights.
He said: “We’ve grown BoxNation, not only for ourselves but also
for the good of boxing. I fully anticipate everything going from
strength to strength.
“We are now at a point where I firmly believe we have the future
big stars of British boxing on our books, the best young talent
out there.
“I think boxing people have been well catered for by the
coverage on BT and BoxNation of our promotions over the last
couple of months.
“The fans at the venues certainly seem to be enjoying what they
are seeing and there’s been a pleasing amount of plaudits
commenting on the quality and entertainment of our shows.
“That is particularly pleasing, because we are in the business of
delivering for the fans, This is just the beginning, though.
“With the big appeal Sky held for boxers, with a bigger platform
and pay-per-view potential, it was hard for us to compete but we
“The deal with BT Sport puts us in a much stronger position,
while also boosting the exposure for our boxers.
“The fans come first, in my book, because they are the ones that
make it all happen – for the boxers, us and the broadcasters.
“We want to satisfy genuine followers of the sport, but we are
also looking to attract people to the game or, in a lot of cases,
back to it. It’s important, because you can’t stand still.
“If new people come along and like what they see, they could
become converted and be regular boxing fans. That can only be
good for everyone concerned.
“I don’t particularly care about Matchroom, all I care about is
what we deliver. I walked away from Sky Sports, that’s all people
need to remember.
“If I hadn’t walked away, they wouldn’t be where they are today.
If you are watching BoxNation, you are in boxing heaven.”




Snapper Snippets

Enjoyable days working with Sir Henry Cooper
What an honour it was to be so close to Sir Henry Cooper back
then, opening nursing homes, shops and window companies –
even a roundabout at Kelvin Way, West Bromwich! It made me
realise why Sir Henry was so popular with the public through his
very generous nature.


We were driven around by
Phil Morrison, also in the
car were Ron & Steve Gray
who put on a great show
at Bar Sports in Cannock,
with Sir Henry as the
Guest of Honour. We
walked around the
gymnasium that was once
at Bar Sports, and Sir
Henry decided to ‘have a
go’ on the speedball which
he still hit at a ferocious
pace. He felt strongly that
youngsters should train in
gyms, “it gives them
discipline, Gary” he said.
I asked him if he could sign a picture for the William Perry
Amateur Boxing Club of Tipton, to which he replied ‘no problem
Gary’. As the driver took us back to the hotel that evening we
spoke freely and privately about ourselves ………. .
The next day we were back on the road again, opening a nursing
home in Aldridge, when we arrived the place was buzzing with
excitement. As Sir Henry walked around, meeting residents, an
old boxing fan was introduced to him, as they chatted the elderly
gentlemans’ eyes were sparkling. When we left the nursing home
thirty minutes later than scheduled, they waved us off. This
happened at every venue we attended. We then headed back to
the hotel as Sir Henry was leaving for a show in Macclesfield. We
shook hands and said we would work together again.
As we prepared to drive out of the car park, a few people had
surrounded Sir Henry. We wound the car window down and
asked if everything was ok, he replied ‘yes no problem’ as he

ruffled the hair of a boy who was standing at his side. ‘he’s four –
and he wants my autograph!’ he laughed.
That summed up Sir Henry Cooper, he was always a ‘peoples



Welcome to the latest edition of our Newsletter, once again thanks to Craig Birch and Gary Bate for their contributions.

At the time of writing, we still have a limited number of tickets available for ‘An Evening With John Conteh’ to be held at the Firs Club, Codsall on Saturday  May 6th •

Tickets are priced at £35.00ea to include a light buffet.

N.B. Our next meeting will be held at the usual venue, Firs Club, Station Road, Codsall on Sunday April 30th • Coffee served from 10.30am, meeting  starts at 11.00am prompt.


After reading and thoroughly enjoying ‘Snapper’s Snippets’ this month, and being stuck for something worthwhile to write, I thought I would add a couple of my favourite boxing stories from yesteryear……


In December of 1959 useful New York based heavyweight Bartolo Soni fought  Henry  Wallitsch  in the city’s Island Garden Arena.

Soni made full use of his superior footwork to avoid Wallitsch’s wild onslaughts, until in the 3r d   round Wallitsch thought he’d got Soni trapped on the ropes. Wallitsch threw a mighty punch which Soni again  avoided, this time the momentum  of  his frustrated swing sent him clean through  the ropes, knocking  himself  clean out  on the concrete floor thus losing the bout  by  KO!


And my all time favourite…………..


In April 2006 New York based Andrew ‘Six Heads’ Lewis travelled back to his native Guyana to  challenge  ‘Deadly’  Denny  Dalton  for the Guyanese Super Welterweight title. Despite being ahead on points, during the 7t h  round ‘Six Heads’ suddenly dived out of the ring  and  made  a  mad dash  for  the  changing  rooms! Upon  further

investigation, he claimed that he had consumed a milk shake before the fight, resulting in an explosive case of diarrhoea! He was unable to return to the ring, and Dalton was awarded the decision by TKO!

From The Chairman's Pen

Well it’s nice to see the sun out at last, I hope that this Newsletter

Jason Welborn

Jason Welborn

finds you all well. Firstly, congratulations to Jason Welborn on winning the W.B.C. Middleweight International Silver title in Manchester.
On the recent Les Allen promotion at the Venue in Dudley, Tyler Denny stepped up to the mark to win his first 6×3’s convincingly 60-54. He’s one to watch, and hopefully will be fighting for the Midlands Area title soon. On the same bill Shaun Cooper made his first fight one to remember by sustaining a broken nose.
Midlands boxing is definitely on the way

up with some eight to ten shows per month on average – long may it continue.
This years’ Annual Golf Day will take place on Friday 21s t July at Dudley Golf Club. Now we have a change of course we’ll see the best of the Dudley crew and it promises to be a great day, as usual Mad Dog Messer is working hard behind the scenes to make it happen. This year after the presentation a D.J. who will be playing favourites old & new, Shaun assures me that he will be tripping the light fantastic with his Northern Soul moves so if you can’t make the golf come along and support the disco!
I hope to see you all at the next meeting. Yours in sport

'Boxing Matters' - by Craig Birch

It’s  perhaps the longest chase for a fight going – but Steve Collins is still refusing to give up hope that he can get Roy Jones Jr into the ring.

Collins is now 52-years-old and hasn’t boxed in 20 years, but has been trying to land his last stand against Jones for even longer. ‘The Celtic Warrior’ first set his sights on him after breaking into the super middleweight ranks as the WBO world champion, while still holding the organisation’s title at middleweight.

The Irishman, from Dublin in the Republic, clearly still has that never-say-die attitude, which established him in two divisions after becoming a world champion at the third attempt.

While never stopped, he had twice come second best on the cards for the WBA middleweight title, to two of the best in the business in Mike McCallum and Reggie Johnson.

His prospects looked even bleaker after he was downed for the European crown on points, too, by Sumbu Kalambay directly after the Johnson setback.

The determined Collins finally realised his ambition in 1994,


seizing the WBO middleweight strap in five from Chris Pyatt, who had vanquished Kalambay for the vacant belt.

He would never defend the title, though, instead stepping up to super middle to sensationally thwart Chris Eubank unanimously for another WBO crown.

It ended Eubank’s final reign as a world champion and Collins proved it was no fluke by defeating him again on a split decision. He would also end the career of Eubank’s hated rival Nigel Benn, who would twice try to dethrone the Irishman without success.

First ‘the Dark Destroyer’ was halted in the fourth after picking up an ankle injury, but he retired for good in 1996 after quitting on his stool at the end of the sixth the second time around.

Collins retired after seven defences while still champion in 1997, having backed out of taking on a young Joe Calzaghe. He’d registered 36 wins from 39, with 21 TKOs.

Calzaghe openly holds that against him, along with Collins’ quip that the Welshman, who would later conquer the world, “wouldn’t fill a parish church.”

A similarly nagging feeling lies within Collins, who first announced plans to return against long-time rival Jones at the start of 2013. Still, it hasn’t happened.

Jones never quit boxing either, last winning the WBF world title at cruiser in February at the age of 48. The question is only what weight he could get down to.

Collins insists his long pursuit of the multi-weight great is just business, but he freely admits it’s his dream about and he will never give up on his dreams.

Then there’s Calzaghe, now 45 and happily retired, having last seen Jones on points in 2008 to hang up his gloves undefeated, with 46 wins from 46 paid bouts.

Calzaghe could have Collins now if he really wanted to, in the same way as Collins wants Jones, but he would still be a second choice.


Collins said: “I spend a lot of my time working on my farm in Ireland now, I watch what I eat and I still wear the same size suits now as I did         then.

“I haven’t retired, I’m still waiting for the Jones fight to come off but there’s a big gap since my last fight, that’s for sure!

“I’ve signed the contract, he hasn’t so it’s down to him which I can’t understand because he’s still going. He’s a friend, actually, and a lovely guy but I still want to fight him!

“We’ve been in talks for 20 years and he keeps pulling out at the last minute. I’ve told him l1m not interested in fighting anybody else.

“I want to fight Jones, even if it’s just a 10-rounder. It doesn1t matter – it1s just something l1d wanted to do for a long time. Everybody wants to see this, whether it 1s for the right or the wrong reasons.

“There are a lot of the younger generation who have never seen us in the ring that would love to see us do it, so we1 ve got three generations backing us.

“The reason my drive to carry on boxing went was because there was no more big names out there for me, there was only Jones and a couple of kids that no one knew about that didn’t appeal. “There was Calzaghe, he went on to become one of the best champions Britain ever had but he was an up-and-coming guy, at that time.

“If he’d had come along five years earlier, he’d have been in the mix, but he’s the one apart from Jones now who’d I consider fighting. 11 11 beat the man who beat the man –  why not?

“Jones is the one I want still. It should happen. I’ll give it until l1m 60 and then 11 II retire.”

Don’t think that the Collins versus Eubank rivalry is dead either, rather than taken into the next generation through their children. Steve Collins Jr is now a professional boxer, having turned his back on the game of rugby to keep up the family name.


The 27-year-old is still unbeaten after 11 contests in the cruiserweight division, with his uncle Paschal working his corner. Chris Eubank Jnr, while also 27, is further down the line and has won British, WBA interim and 180 world honours going up from middleweight to super middle.

Eubank Jnr challenged David Haye’s conqueror Tony Bellew, who last boxed at heavyweight but is the WBC emeritus world champion at cruiser, to a catchweight clash after a row on Twitter. With that in mind, Collins doesn’t think Eubank Jnr would have any problem jumping up the weights to reignite the rivalry between the two families.

Dad Collins said: “My son started his career at heavyweight and he was 16 and a half stone then, because he used to be a professional rugby player.

“He now campaigns at light heavyweight, he’s got himself a good team around him and the weight has just dropped off him.

“Mr brother has got him, he’s an excellent coach, and I talk boxing whenever I see him. He never boxed amateur, he’s only ever been a pro, but he’s grown up with the sport.

“Everyone one in our family has boxed, so I encouraged him to learn the sport. To stay with it was his option. It’s a great discipline, it teaches kids respect and gets them off the street. “He’s coming along well, now we need to get him some sponsors in the UK to help him fight in America, like I did at the start of my career.

“There’s no reason why he can’t fight Eubank Jr, there’s only really one weight between them and I moved up a division to fight Eubank Snr.

“I    wouldn’t have thought Eubank Jnr would have a problem stepping up to light heavy, he’s a tall kid and, if they want it, my son would have it tomorrow.

Watch this space!”

Snapper Snippets

Did you know……..

Boxer Harry Greb was blinded in one eye during a fight in 1921 but managed to keep it a secret from his trainer and all of his opponents. Up against Johnny Wilson for the world middleweight title in 1923, he tried to even things up in the sixth round by thumbing his opponent in the eye. The referee pulled the boxers apart and asked Greb what the hell he thought he was doing.

Lost for an excuse, Greb snapped back “Sticking my thumb in his eye, what does it look like?” The rest of the fight passed without incident with Greb winning the world championship on points, probably the only one eyed boxer to do so.

Some boxers can be highly superstitious. Ken Norton was terrified of black cats, Henry Cooper never polished his boots, Joe Louis always insisted on putting his left glove on before his right, whilst Willy Pastrano always tied his wedding ring to his left bootlace.

When  a  bus  conductor  refused  to  allow  John  L.  Sullivan’s beloved dog on board with his master the boxer floored him with one well aimed  punch. Sullivan  was taken to  court  where the judge said “Mr Sullivan, I fine you 100 dollars for hitting that man, do you have anything that you want to say?” Sullivan reached for his wallet and replied “Yes your honour, I’ll give you another 200 if you let me hit  him again!”

Norman Wisdom was army boxing champion in 1932. Other people that you may not have realised were keen boxers include

U.S. President Teddy Roosevelt, Lord Byron, Berry Gordy (the founder of Motown records), inventor of the steam locomotive George Stephenson, Pope John Paul II, Eamon Andrews, Kris Kristofferson, singer Terence Trent D’Arby, ldi Amin, Bob Hope, Arthur Mullard, Billy Joel, John Fashanu, Jack Palance and Ernest Hemingway.


At our April meeting we welcomed a new member in the shape of Mick Penning a friend of Larry Parkes for many years and who   with the assistance  of the Secretary  will be writing an article  on the inauguration of Larry Parkes into the British Ex Boxers Hall of Fame, which will take place on the 17th September 2017 with the article hopefully appearing  in the Sentinel  newspaper  at some stage in the next couple  of  months.

Sadly our Chairman Gary Marston was unable to be in attendance at the meeting due to an extremely sensitive family matter and the Association would like to send Gary our very best wishes for a prompt conclusion to the matter.

Should there be anybody with a passion for our great sport who wishes to  join our friendly, welcoming Association  please feel free to contact Secretary Richard Vaughan on 07985 468004 or  by e-mail at or simply pop in at The Leopard, 21 Market Place, Burslem on the first Tuesday of the month  at 8pm.




Welcome to the first Newsletter of 2017, once again thanks to Craig Birch for his ever popular contributions.
Our next meeting will take place at the Firs Club, Codsall on Sunday March 5t h • Coffee served from 10.30am, meeting starts at 11.00am prompt. This meeting will be our AGM, nominations are invited for the posts of Chairman, Vice Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer.
Nominations should be received in writing by myself no later than 14 days prior to the meeting date.


During my recent travels I spent some time in New Zealand. As usual whilst indulging in local Irish bars the conversations turned to boxing, and I was asked my opinion on recently crowned WBO Heavyweight Champion Joseph Parker. It almost seems that locals cannot quite believe that they have a World Champion on their hands, (he is New Zealand’s first) and are seeking confirmation that this is really true. I spoke to a number of people who thought that his victory over Andy Ruiz last year was questionable, with a fair amount of late night bar­ room experts giving the decision to Ruiz.
Joseph Parker is of Samoan descent, whose native name – as I’m sure you are all aware is Lupesoliai La’auliolemalietoa. I’m nearly sure that during several conversations in local bars in the wee small hours, certain locals seemed to be referring to the lad by that name (or something similar).
Parker represented New Zealand in the 2010 Commonwealth Games, after which he was hyped as being the country’s most promising boxer since David Tua. He switched to the paid ranks in 2012, flattening a string of opponents in double quick time. I will be following his career with interest in future, there is talk of a match with Hughie Fury amongst others.
I can’t wait to visit the Fiddler Irish bar again next year for many more expert late night opinions on Joseph Parker, Brexit, Donald Trump, the meaning of life, all of which has to be discussed between music, song and great craic in the early hours! Xmas holidays in Auckland can be tough!.

From The Chairman's Pen

Happy New Year to you all!

Wolverhampton ABC will be staging a show at Bar Sport in Cannock in February, I’m sure you would all like to wish Gary ‘Snapper’ Bate a successful evening.

This year will see Midlands boxing shows increase yet again – who

said boxing is on the decline? There are seven shows taking place within the Midlands region in February, with seven already booked in for March.  If you would like to know where and when these shows are to be held give me a call on 07970792228.

Sam Eggington will be defending his WBC International Welterweight title at the 02 Arena on the undercard of David Haye v’s Tony Bellew on Saturday 4th March live on Sky Sports Box Office.

I would like to extend a big welcome back to Shaun ‘Crusher’ Messer after his recent Malta experience.  Please ask Gary ‘Snapper’ Bate why Shaun’s nickname has changed from ‘Mad Dog’ to ‘Crusher’?????

Yours in Sport


Through The President's Eye

Ken Buchanan, MBE, and Dick McTaggart, MBE, As a sportsman who has met various athletes who have competed at different disciplines, it was a sheer pleasure complimented by awe to have met two of my favourite British fighters at the British Boxing Hall of Fame inductions that were held at
the Azur, in St. Leonards on- Sea, Hastings, in September, 2016. I met Ken Buchanan, MBE, and Dick McTaggart, MBE, two fighters whom

I have always admired for the skills that they demonstrated inside the ring, made even more magnificent by their modesty outside of the ring.

Dave Harris, Jane Davidson and others worked very hard to present a splendid occasion for everyone at this superb location in Hastings. There have been several British boxing Champions who have
graced the world stage with style and dignity, whose presence as fighters remained etched in the memories of boxing fans throughout the world.
I came to this country as a teenager in the 1960s with the dedicated aim to become a professional boxer, and there were two fighters that to my mind, stood out from the rest of the brilliant fighters around at that time.
They were Ken Buchanan MBE, and Dick McTaggart MBE. McTaggart had competed at the 1956 Olympics in Melbourne Australia, and at the 1960 Olympics that were held in Rome, Italy. He won a gold medal in Melbourne and a bronze medal in Rome, losing out in the third round to eventual winner, Jerzy Kule of Poland. However, our hero, McTaggart won the Val Baker trophy for best boxing {Val Barker, was the first General Secretary, of the International Amateur Boxing Federation). This award is usually awarded to the fighter of the games who displays the most evident style and technique. A prolific winner, was Dick McTaggart, he won ABA titles in 1956, 1958, 1960, 1963 and 1965. He was inducted in the Scottish Boxing Hall of Fame in 2002.
Ken Buchanan was also a trophy laden fighter who any aspirant fighter would love to emulate. He was a lightweight fighter who had all the moves and techniques of a fighter who would make it to the highest rung of his professional career. Another quality that I found most accommodating but unusual for a top fighter was his undying modesty that he displayed at all times. Now that I’ve met him decades later, he’s all that he seemed to me as a young man back then, looking for heroes. He speaks quietly and assuredly and does not make one entertain the belief that he is too busy to talk with you. Still a Champion now as he was then, and purportedly will be always!
Ken Buchanan, MBE, was born on the 28th. June, 1945, and was an undisputed World Lightweight Champion when he beat Ismael Laguna in his back yard, in Puerto Rico. This win must have been so satisfying for the champ, as it was against the expectations of most of the boxing scribes who predicted that he would lose because of the heightened temperature of the weather in Puerto Rico. However, champions don’t mind predictions they fight and win fights they are not expected to win. In another test of Buchanan determination the politics of boxing prevented Buchanan from boxing in Britain, and as a result had to fight overseas until the boxing politics had been resolved between the parties. It is sometimes said that great Champions do overcome great difficulties when they must!

Through The Presidents Other Eye

This contribution is a little different from what I’ve done before and I hope you’ll read and have a little chuckle whilst reading it.
The two people that I’ve written about in my first contribution this month, Ken Buchanan MBE, and Dick McTaggart MBE, are fighters of a bygone era, so I thought I would continue writing about what I saw and how I interpreted this new life and ways of doing things, when I first landed in this country as a 16-year-old many years ago,
Here goes:
When I came to Britain in 1963 this country enjoyed the second highest standard of living in Europe, just behind Sweden.
In the world of music, the Mersey sound was the sound of the moment, as played by four likely lads for Liverpool calling themselves the Beatles. The world of fashion was dominated by the launch of the mini skirt by Mary Quant, a style that was embraced by all with unanimous approval! The most popular slogan at the time was: “Let’s make love – not war, because love’s lovely and war is ugly.
In the boxing, World, this side of the Atlantic, Sir Henry Cooper was British & Empire Heavyweight Champion. (Empire soon to be changed to The Commonwealth).
The new star on the boxing horizon was a young fast talking braggadocio from Louisville, Kentucky, by the name of Cassius Marcellus Clay. He had astonished the World and his opponents with the blazing speed of his hands and feet which was only surpassed by his speed of wit, and he was certainly not a humble fighter. “I’m the greatest!” He proclaimed.
The World looked on in amazement at his accomplishments both inside and outside the ring, and finally agreed “Yes, he’s the greatest”.
I will conclude this overview of the 1960’s in the next edition. Yours in Sport
Bunny Johnson (President)

'Boxing Matters' - by Craig Birch

Joshua-WladimirHeavyweight boxing great Larry Holmes would hate to say ‘I told you so’ when it comes to predicting Anthony Joshua’s rise to fame.
Holmes touted the Englishman as a future ruler of the division on a visit to the West Midlands over three years ago, writes Craig Birch.
Former WBC and inaugural IBF titlist Holmes was back in the area for a public speaking engagement in West Bromwich.
‘The Easton Assassin’ first proclaimed “I think you have got a champion here” in 2013, after providing punditry for one of Joshua’s early pro fights on Sky Sports the month before.
‘AJ’ was three fights into his tear at that point, and went on to become a world titlist with the least amount of ring time in history. Of the 156 rounds
he’s has been scheduled to complete since making his debut, he’s took out anyone who has dared stand with him in a total of 44 sessions.
The 27-year-old has a punch perfect 18 wins from 18 bouts, with 18 stoppages. Now comes the acid test – he’ll next go toe-to-toe with Wladimir Klitschko at Wembley Stadium on April 29.
Joshua, who has never been past seven rounds, pits his wits against arguably the most dominant heavyweight of the modern era.
Before an absolute no-show to lose his multitude of world titles on points to Tyson Fury, you had to go back 11 years to find a defeat on the Ukrainian’s record, which includes a win over David Haye.
Klitschko has since turned 40, and while both are Olympic medallists, the difference in time between Atlanta 1996 and London 2012 suggests Joshua might be too young and fresh for him.
Joshua’s IBF title, along with the now vacant WBA ‘super’ and 180 belts, will be on the line in what is make-or-break territory for the European veteran.
No one can take away Klitschko’s haul of honours and the 22 title defences he made of his crowns, which eclipses Holmes’ 20. Only Joe Louis, with 25, has defended more times.

‘Dr Steelhammer’ – a nickname coined by virtue of his and brother Vitali’s PhDs – must now hope his trademark jab knocks Joshua out of his stride.
It worked at will for Holmes, who was in possession of what is rated as one of the best left jabs ever, as he closed in on history during his own career.
The American came within a fight of matching Rocky Marciano’s unbeaten record of 49-0, but was beaten for the IBF title Joshua now holds by Michael Spinks in 1985.
Larry-HolmesHolmes said: “I could see the potential Anthony has and I’ve been in boxing for a long time. The way he’s going, he might even break my record!
“I told him that when I was there that night (in 2013). The fights shouldn’t get easier but, if you train right, the result should stay the same right across the board.
“You have got a big boy here who is capable of boxing properly, not like Lennox Lewis! He was great, but had no jab.
“We have been friends since Lennox came to my gym and I was trying to teach him how to jab, he started using it but he was always trying to kill somebody.
“This kid reminds me of Lennox and he sounds like him, too, they must
be from the same place! He’s got a great future.”
Holmes’ slice of folklore ended up with him becoming the only man to have stopped Muhammad Ali in a pro contest.
Despite not taking up boxing until he was 19, Holmes competed 97 times amateur and pro, with 22 unpaid. The last was a disqualification loss against Duane Babick in the 1972 Olympic trials. He then spent nearly 20 years as a pro, debuting in 1973 before finally calling time in 2002. He featured 75 times, with 69 wins and 44 inside thedistance.

Now aged 67, the man considered to have possessed one of the best left jabs ever is a double legend, having been inducted into the International and World Boxing Hall of Fame.
He defeated the likes of Earnie Shavers and Ken Norton, the latter winning him the WBC title, before taking on friend and perennial sparring partner Ali in 1980.
Ali’s trainer Angelo Dundee retired him at the end of the 10th round after a performance, at age 38, not befitting of ‘the Greatest.’
Rocky actor Sylvester Stallone, who was watching on at ringside, famously called the fight “like watching an autopsy on a man who is still alive.”
Holmes recalled: “The hardest puncher I ever fought was Earnie. He knocked me down but I got up, took him around the ring and showed him how to box. He was in trouble then.
“Everybody told me I couldn’t beat these guys. When someone says you can’t do something, it only makes me more determined.
“My opponents knew to how to box, but they really didn’t know how to box like I do. It was Ali who taught me. I first met him in 1973. “When I first got into boxing, he had a camp that I went to and, at first, he’d give me a real beating when we sparred. We used to put exhibitions and, once, he gave me a black eye but I didn’t quit. “From then on, he was my friend and he gave me a job for four years and I travelled around the country with him.
“I learned so much from watching him and learning. When it became my time, I knew all of the tricks. He was a mentor to me.
“I didn’t think that we would fight, I couldn’t see how it would benefit me.
If I won, I beat an old man and, if I lost, people would think I didn’t have it.
“It was about the money, for him, and I understood that and he still believed he could do it in the ring. I was banging him around and he was like ‘you ain’t got nothing boy, show me something.’
“I hurt him in the ropes and whispered to him ‘Ali, don’t take any more of this.’ He turned round and told me ‘shut up, boy, I’m going to knock you out!’
“I asked the referee to stop the fight, because I was hurting this man. He told meto shut up. Once it was over, I was happy.

“I went to his dressing room after and they were rubbing him down, wherever the bruises were on his body. I told him he was still on the greatest fighters of all time and how much I loved him.
“He joked with me ‘if you love me so much, why did you beat me up like that?’ We had a good laugh about it.”
Holmes held onto the WBC crown until 1983, the same year he outpointed Tim Witherspoon in a title defence that was hotly­ disputed.
He was later awarded the newly-formed IBF’s belt, a reign which ended when he lost to Spinks, one of six contests where he was defeated.
He came out of retirement for a mega-money offer to fight an on-fire Mike Tyson, the only man to remove him before the Ali-and-Holmesfinal bell. He halted a 38-year-old Holmes in the sixth on 22 January 1988. Holmes said: “Witherspoon was a good and determined fighter, but I still believe that he didn’t win. I did things to him that got me the result. “How you believe in yourself is a big part of whether you win or lose. No one ever told meI could achieve what I did.
“I wasn’t perfect in my fight game, at first I was but time went against
me and I let myself down a little bit. In theend, I quit.
“I was retired, I was sitting in the house and watching television. I like watching basketball games. Then the door goes one day and it was Don King (promoter). “He asked me to hear him out and the next thing he’s talking about Mike Tyson. I hadn’t trained for two years,
I’d only left the house to hang out at the bar.
“I didn’t want to fight Tyson, no one did, but he offered me so much money ($2.8 million) that I was never going to turn it down.
“It was a hard fight that I shouldn’t have taken, I wasn’t in shape and, if I had have been, I’d have whooped him, like with a lot of the other young guys. I’d have knocked them out early.”




Welcome to the latest edition of our Newsletter, with many thanks to Craig Birch and Melanie Lloyd for their contributions.


This year’s Golf Day was another resounding success, after much hard work by Shaun Messer. Numbers were slightly down this year, with eight teams taking part, but considering the present economic climate we all agree that Shaun did a fantastic job in putting it all together. Thanks also to Brian and Stephen for their help on the day, as well as Martin for his behind the scenes efforts.


I recently attensaid Johnny Nelson.ded a Ron & Steve Gray Sporting Luncheon where Johnny Nelson was the guest speaker, and a very enjoyable afternoon was had by all. The pictures show our latest newsletter contributor Gary ‘Snapper’ Bate and Don Bartlett with the 

Gary ‘Snapper’ Bate and Don Bartlett with the said Johnny Nelson.

Gary ‘Snapper’ Bate and Don Bartlett with the said
Johnny Nelson.

N.B. Our next meeting will take place at the Firs Club, Station Road, Codsall on Sunday 11th September.

From The Chairman's Pen

It was very nice to see our friends from North Staffs EBA attend our last meeting.

Larry Parkes, Harry Foxhall and the younger member Jimmy Stubbs with a total of some 244 years young at heart between them.

I am pleased to say it appears that boxing is on the up within the Midlands Area, we are on track for nearly fifty shows this season – the most we have had for a long time.

The BBBC Awards Dinner will be held at the Eaton Hotel on the 15th October 2016. Tickets are priced at 45.00p.p.and it would be nice if our organisation could put a table together. Ring me if you’re interested on 07970 792228.

I hope all members enjoyed reading the last Newsletter. ‘Snappers’ Snippets’ went down well, rumour has it that the Black Country Bugle may be head hunting our latest contributor/journalist as Gary remembers most of the places mentioned in his articles as if it was yesterday!

John Farney of F&F Mystery Tours ran a mystery tour recently to somewhere he has now forgotten. After returning from his comfort break the great man and his passengers were on the river where the boats’ skipper was running on large Vodka & Cokes. We hope to see Captain Farney at our next meeting where I’m sure he will give us an update on events.

Yours in Sport Martin


On 17th August 2016 octogenarian member Larry Parkes celebrated his 86th birthday at the Commercial Inn, Stoke on Trent in the company of his family, friends and EBA members. A sign of the high esteem that Larry is held in was emphasised by the numbers in attendance and the consistent line of people wanting to spend time in his company.

Plans are underway for the certificate recognising the induction of Tut Whalley into the City of Stoke on Trent Sporting Hall of Fame to be sited in a prominent place at the Association headquarters and it has also been agreed that pictures of notable boxers from the North Staffs area could be hung alongside Tut.

Should there be anybody with a passion for our great sport who wishes to join our friendly, welcoming Association please feel free to contact Secretary Richard Vaughan on 07985 468004 or by e- mail at or simply pop in at The Leopard, 21 Market Place, Burslem on the first Tuesday of the month at 8pm.

Boxing Matters( By Craig Birch )

Tim Witherspoon has always maintained that Frank Bruno beat himself in their world title fight at Wembley Stadium 30 years ago.image_002

Witherspoon is still the last American world heavyweight champion to bring his belt to our shores and defend his crown successfully. ‘Terrible Tim’ shattered Bruno’s hopes of glory in the Englishman’s first shot at global honours and extended Britain’s near century-long wait for a world heavyweight ruler.

English-born Lennox Lewis finally put that to bed in 1993, some 96 years after Bob Fitzsimmons had made history. Bruno later got the job done, at the fourth attempt, in 1995.But it was Witherspoon in the firing line back on 19 July 1986 with Bruno, fast becoming a darling of the nation, fancying his chances.

The 25-year-old had been European boss but he’d already been beaten and stopped once before, in the 10th and last round against James ‘Bonecrusher’ Smith two years previously.

Witherspoon had been robbed out of sight in his first world title opportunity, coming off second best to an aging Larry Holmes for WBC honours.

He then won and lost the WBC crown before picking up the WBA strap, with Bruno his first defence in his fourth world title fight.

Aged 28, he’d come out on top at levels Bruno hadn’t but was considered there for the taking, on appearance alone.

While Bruno looked to have muscles in his spit at their head-to- head meeting and the weigh in, Witherspoon appeared flabby even as a heavyweight.

image_003The notion that the champion had arrived all of the way from Philadelphia in Pennsylvania without taking the fight seriously wasn’t entirely accurate, though.

Nutrition had not been his strong point, true, and coach ‘Slim’ Jim Robinson took action when he got wind of it.

Witherspoon had definitely ballooned since they got on the plane. He recalls: “I trained pretty good, but I started eating different foods when I got to England. It was my first time over and I’d never had to make weight before.

“I remember them sending 12 cases of orange juice to my room in the hotel, I was drinking that and then I was eating really well. I must have gained 7lb to 10lb.

“I was running a lot and still putting it on, then my trainer came in and saw the orange juice. I told him it was complimentary and he was like ‘I think they did this on purpose!’

“I think I was 224lb when I left America and I wound up being something like 234lb at the weigh in. We gave the juice to my sparring partners!”image_004

Witherspoon had been rendered out of shape, but he remained adamant would still be capable of beating Bruno on fight night.

His confidence soared, in fact not just because of the people around him but also because of the English public.

The man in the street had grave reservations about whether Bruno could pull it off and Witherspoon reckons it eventually told on their countryman.

He said: “A lot of people doubted him, claiming he was too muscular and things like that. When I came over and talked to the people, I noticed there were several different opinions of him. “That gave me an edge. It was his first chance to become a world champion and a lot of weight was on his shoulders. He had a lot on his plate.

“I think that worked against him. I knew it and I took advantage.” Before getting down to business, Witherspoon first had to run the gauntlet of a hostile Wembley crowd after 40,000 spectators packed into the stadium for an open-air show.

Bruno could punch, but Witherspoon had the ability to slip them. The American had a chin, too, whereas our Frank’s punch resistance was already deemed suspect.

Boxing with a languid style suited Witherspoon over a long haul, with Bruno looking increasingly stiff as he blew himself out in the later rounds.

The fight was still relatively close on the cards when the end came, just three seconds before the bell was due to finish the 11th round.

Bruno first came forward to put three punches together to Witherspoon’s head, only to be sent reeling into the corner from an overhand right after leaving himself wide open.

Bruno escaped but could not defend the same shot three more times, dumping him onto his backside in Witherspoon’s corner. In went the towel and it was over, without a count.

Witherspoon said: “I knew the crowd were there and that they were really hostile. They wanted their man to win and were behind him, 100 per cent. I’m just glad I got out of there safe!

“I knew all I had to do was hit Frank solid on the chin and the fight was over. He was game but he was basic, although some of his combinations were good.

“He needed to learn a lot more to reach his goal, but he was in good shape. His muscles were as big as I had ever seen.

“I planned on taking my time, because I knew I could block his punches. That allowed me to relax a bit more.

“I knew I’d have to knock him out, that I’d have to hurt him in order for them to give me the fight. I took my shots when they came along.”

Bruno was gutted in his first time on the big stage, with the bout starting at 1am to accommodate box office in the United States. He went home with $1.1million, though, as the beaten man.

Witherspoon took the belt home with $900,000 of the purse. After he lost his title, he would later spend years battling his promoter, Don King, in court over his earnings.


The following are excerpts from local newspaper articles concerning prize fighting antics from days of yore. The first article concerns an intended major event that was due to take place in Bilbrook in the ‘parish of Codsall’. Whilst the report that ‘several thousand persons’ was probably an exaggeration, bare knuckle bouts were obviously a major attraction back then, taking into account that in 1835 there would probably only be a couple of hundred residents in Bilbrook, the attraction of the venue was obviously wide open spaces with very few prying eyes. (This was of course a short time before our very own Don ‘Chisum’ Bartlett was stationed within the parish.)

Wolverhampton Chronicle 4/3/1835

A prize fight was announced to take place on Tuesday last at Bilbrook in the parish of Codsall, five miles from Wolverhampton between two men, one named John Hicken, and the other called ‘White-Headed Bob’, for £5.00 a side. Mr Bache, high – constable, having received information of the intended fight taking place within his division, proceeded with a warrant accompanied by Mr. John Sparrow, one of the constables of Wolverhampton to the spot, where he found assembled several thousand persons.

Vehicles of every description were upon the ground, with abundance of eatables and ale. Mr. Bache on alighting from the chaise proceeded at once in to the ring and over the ropes, followed by Mr. Sparrow, where the combatants stood in a sparring attitude. Mr. Bache charged the peace, seized the man Hicken, and with the assistance of Sparrow succeeded in bringing him out of the ring to within a few yards of the chaise, when the mob closed upon him, and jostled and elbowed Hicken out of custody. Both delinquents took to their heels, and ran over hedge

and ditch, followed by the multitude like a pack of hounds. In about an hour afterwards fresh arrangements were made, and the people on horse and foot, in great numbers , made the best of their way to Slade Heath, on the Stafford Road, about five miles from Wolverhampton, where they again staked the ground and made a ring to renew the fight. Mr. Bache and Mr. Sparrow were on the alert, and proceeded from the Lion Inn, Codsall to the spot, when the combatants were again put to flight, and obliged to relinquish any further attempt. On Thursday, however, the peace of the neighbourhood was again disturbed by their endeavour to renew the contest. Another warrant was granted, directed to Mr. Bache, who, in company with Mr. Fenn, a constable of Wolverhampton, followed the parties to Rough Hills, between Sedgley and Bilston, and chased them across the country through Bilston and Darlaston to the borough of Walsall , without being able to apprehend either of the parties. The fight was afterwards concluded at Walsall Wood, and was won by White – Headed Bob, whose real name, we understand is Martin. Both men are well known bad characters, and have been tried for manslaughter on account of their pugilistic encounters.

One of the seconds, a man named Baker, is under recognisances to keep the peace for five years, for assaulting the magistrates at our Public Office about two years ago.

Wolverhampton Chronicle 17/7/1833

James Burke, better known as ‘Deaf Burke’, and Richard Curtis, having surrendered themselves this morning, were put to the bar, and pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging Burke with having inflicted divers mortal bruises in a pugilistic contest at Noman’s Land, on Simon Byrne, whereof death ensued; and Richard Curtis with having aided and abetted him in the felony, by acting as his second.

Mr. Ryland conducted the prosecution, and after an able address to the jury he called S.G.Shaw, reported to the County press, who

said that he was present at the fight, which took place on the 3rd of May last at Noman’s Land, between Simon Byrne and Deaf Burke. Byrne was seconded by Ward and Spring, and Burke by Gaynor and Curtis. The men fought for a long time, upwards of three hours, with alternate success. Sometimes one was down, sometimes the other, and sometimes both together. About the 50th round both men were down, and Byrne was undermost. Burke smiled, and tapped his antagonist good humouredly on the shoulder. The whole combat was conducted with great humour on both sides, particularly on the part of Burke. Witness saw both men conveyed out of the ring.

The Doctor who attended Byrne said, that when the body was examined after death had taken place there appeared to have been former disease of the lungs. There was no external injury answering to the internal appearances which could have caused death.

The Learned Judge here stopped the case, and directed the jury to acquit the prisoners. When the verdict of acquittal was announced, the spectators cheered vociferously.

Spring, Ward and Gaynor, immediately surrendered; but no evidence being offered, they were also pronounced Not Guilty. Wolverhampton Chronicle 17/7/1833

On Tuesday another prize fight was fought in a field at Whetstone, between Edward Thompson, a journeyman baker, of Praed Street, Paddington, and Michael Murphy, brother to the well-known pugilist Ned Murphy, for £5 a-side.

The fight lasted one hour and forty-eight minutes, during which twenty-nine rounds were fought, of the most unfair description. Thompson was not only dreadfully stoned by Murphy’s attendants, but also severely beaten with bludgeons. The circle was numerously attended on both sides. Thompson expired at one o’clock yesterday morning from the injuries he had received. Murphy also remains in great danger.

Wolverhampton Chronicle 16/2/1859

Thomas Magnus and Charles Bird were charged at the Police Court on Tuesday with having committed a breach of the peace by engaging together in a prize fight; and fifteen other men were charged with aiding and abetting in the said fight. The fight took place near to the PEAR TREE INN, in the parish of Wednesfield, the defendants surrounding the pugilists. Thomas Tranter said he was not on the ground or anywhere near, but that he was at work all day. In support of this, he produced a note from his master’s clerk. The police officers who made the charges were recalled and they said they were quite sure that Tranter was there, but all the other defendants denied that he was there. Under these circumstances Tranter was discharged. The two principals, Magnus and Bird, who had, it was said, fought together for up to two hours, were ordered to pay 4s 6d each, and the other defendants were bound over to keep the peace.


image_005Former British and European Super- Middleweight Champion, James Cook MBE, has been working with the Hackney Police on their Independent Advisory Group, a concept devised by the MET to improve relations between the police and the people. Every London borough has an IAG, consisting of police officers, including the respective Borough Commanders, and representatives

from the local community who are termed as advisors. The key objective is for the Met to gain a deeper insight into the mood on

the street generally and obtain guidance on various cultural matters.Cook, who was awarded the MBE in 2007 for services to youth justice, is the driving force behind the Pedro Youth Club in East London and has been an advisor to the Hackney IAG for five months. “We invited some local police officers to come to one of our Pedro boxing shows and they spoke to me about it then, so I thought I’d give it a try. The meetings are really good, because we’re normal people who want to help the community. We bring things up that aren’t working, and the police are listening to us. If anything is happening in your particular area, you might get a phone call or a text to let you know about it, and they’ll ask if you can try and calm it down. A lot of people, especially young people, they’d rather speak to somebody they know before the police come, so we’re there to sort of keep the peace.”

James and I took a trip to see the Borough Commander of Hackney, Simon Laurence, who heads up the Hackney IAG. Simon explained “The best way to describe the IAG is we want representation from as many communities as possible. I’m

particularly proud of who we’ve got on it, and the fact that I’m able to openly discuss things that are going on in the borough with leading members of the community. The work that James does is absolutely marvellous, and you don’t get an MBE for nothing. I’m really proud to have James on my IAG. If we think about the whole gang culture, if these young people have got nowhere to go, no positive role model, there is a big chance that they’re going to fall into a life of crime. The whole idea of something like the Pedro Club is they’ve got somewhere where they can expend their energy, somewhere which is safe and where they’ve got people who care about them.”

LET’S HEAR IT FOR THE GIRLS! Our own Nicola Adams made history when she won her second Olympic Gold in Rio. The charismatic Leeds flyweight initially captured our hearts and opened many traditional boxing minds with her emphatically

dazzling performance at London 2012. The issue of whether women should participate in the noble art is one that will always be up for debate. One of the most interesting viewpoints I have ever encountered on the subject came from former British, Commonwealth and European Welterweight Champion, Colin Jones, when I interviewed the Welshman for the Boxing Monthly prior to the London Olympics. Jones is the Head of the National Welsh Squad and, when I asked him how he felt about ladies donning the gloves, he explained “Sometimes, when you’re at these tournaments and they’re mixed, when you’re standing at a distance and they are wearing head-guards, to be honest, they’re so well-schooled that you would think they were boys.”

Adams’ relaxed style on both sides of the ropes denotes a strong sense of confidence in her natural ability to fight. One blast from the past who would have certainly matched Adams for self-belief was Helen Hindreth, a prize fighter from New York who plied her trade 100 years ago. During an interview, she was once asked if she had ever been hit hard, to which she replied “Yes, but that’s part of the game. The excitement and nervous tension you are under when you are boxing makes you forget the pain of a blow almost as soon as you feel it.” In February 1916, Hindreth took part in a mixed contest with a man called Johnny Atkinson. She was actually winning when the police jumped into the ring and stopped the fight!


fantastic news that Bunny Johnson is going to be inaugurated into the British Ex Boxers’ Hall of Fame. In the 1970s when he was boxing, Bunny was faced with and overcame many obstacles in order to realise his dream of becoming the first black British Heavyweight Champion. Yet, he always behaved in such a noble and dignified manner, a trait that he has carried with him throughout his life. We are all very proud of you Champ! Have a wonderful day.