CHIEF interest for British boxing fans this weekend is the challenge by Paul Smith to Arthur Abraham for the Armenian-born German’s WBO super-middleweight title. With the fight happening in Germany the personable Scouser starts an underdog, but a live one.
By now most people know the Smiths story: Paul is the eldest of four boxing brothers, followed in descending age order by super-feather Stephen, light-middle Liam and super-middle Callum. All have been high achievers in the both the amateur and paid ranks, and it’s not inconceivable that all four may one day contest a world title.
There have been many others sets of boxing brothers, most recently the Klitschkos with both Wladimir and Vitali holding world heavyweight belts. Indeed, Wlad still dominates the division and looks capable seeing off any of the current challengers.
But there have been other world champion brotherly pairings that are less well-known than the giant Ukrainians. If you’re a fan of the smaller weights, then you may have heard of Thailand’s Galaxy twins, Khaosai and Khaokor. Their real family name was Vingchamphoo, but in Thailand it’s the custom for a pro fighter to take the name of the gym to which he is attached. It’s as if Luke Campbell turned pro as “Luke Matchroom”, or if Frank Buglioni appeared on last weekend’s Frank Warren bill as “Frank Queensberry”.
Whatever, the Galaxies (both southpaws) left their mark on the sport. Khaosai held the WBA flyweight title from 1984 to 1991, making 19 successful defences and retiring unbeaten champion while Khaokor was WBA twice bantam champ for a three-month spell. Perhaps their finest hour came in January 1989 when both retained their belts at a crocodile farm in Samut Prakan!
And then there were the Curry brothers from Fort Worth, Texas. History will remember Don as the better, this stylish and hard-hitting boxer reigning as an outstanding welterweight champion in the mid-1980s. (At least, until Lloyd Honeyghan shockingly toppled him in 1986).
But older sibling Bruce was a pretty decent fighter too, holding the WBC light-welter belt from May 1983 to January 1984. By then he was already on the decline, having been a dangerous and handful-for-anyone contender since the late 1970s.
He shot to prominence when he dropped Wilfred Benitez three times but lost a hotly contested points decision to the Puerto Rican wunderkind in November 1977. For the rematch three months later a better-prepared Benitez won clearly, but in February 1979 Bruce beat British hope Clinton McKeznie (from another famous fighting clan) in Las Vegas.
A rising Thomas Hearns chinned the older Curry in three rounds, but that just proved he was too small for the 147lbs division and it was down at 140lbs that he eventually claimed a world title a few years later. More of a scrapper than his skilful younger brother Don, Bruce was all the same a pretty good fighter.