ALBERT CARROLL was one of Britain’s leading welterweights of the 1950s. He turned pro at 17, earning £5 for his first fight and the approbation of Ted Kid Lewis, who came to his dressing room afterwards. Over the next 10 years Albert fought 56 times, won the Southern Area title and boxed for the British crown.
When I interviewed him a few years back for my book, Fighting Men of London, not only did I unearth a fascinating boxing story but one of the most remarkable life stories I’ve ever heard. It would be impossible to do Albert’s story justice within the confines of this small column, but suffice to say it is one of extreme highs and lows, encompassing success, tragedy, crime and redemption.
Sixty years ago this week Carroll entered the biggest fight of his career. Since turning pro, the Bethnal Green boxer had beaten many of the country’s top welters – Wally Swift, Tony Mancini, Sandy Manuel, Jimmy Croll and Boswell St Louis to name a few – and in June 1959 he outscored Terry Gill for the Southern Area crown. Albert received £400 for that fight (just £225 after expenses), but it earned him a shot at the British title, held by Liverpool’s Tommy Molloy.