HEROL GRAHAM is widely considered the best British fighter never to win a world title, and on November 24 1990, he came exceptionally close to claiming one.
Matched against fearsome slugger Julian Jackson for the vacant WBC middleweight title, the silky fighter’s accurate blasts had closed the slugger’s eyes. The American’s vision was limited even before a punch had been thrown, but by the fourth round, he was virtually blind.
All Graham had to do was stay out of trouble for three minutes and the fight would have been stopped in his favour. But the Briton increased his fire. It lit the dynamite that lurked in Jackson’s right mitt.
Graham’s trainers, the Ingles, remember the night well.
“After three rounds, me dad [Brendan Ingle] says to him, ‘stick to the plan, box him, and don’t get involved’,” said Dominic. “But Herol wanted to knock him out. He could have run around for three minutes and he’d have won. But he went out to try and finish it and, bang, he got done.”
John Ingle added: “It’s like a having a footballer with an open net in front of him thinking ‘I’m going to bicycle kick this in’.”
Although Graham remains one of the Ingles’ most accomplished graduates, his claims that he invented the famous switch-hitting style that made the gym world famous, do not sit well with Dominic, Brendan and John.
“People always say that,” John snaps. “We don’t have to do this [develop boxers], there’s no financial pressure on us today because of what we have consistently achieved. If Herol Graham was such a genius then why hasn’t he done it? If he’s the mastermind, why has he let my dad do it? If it’s Herol Graham’s style, he should sue us for copyright because we’ve made a fortune out of it.”