Feature | Premium | Apr 22 2019

Born on this day – Harry Mullan on life as the editor of Boxing News

Before Harry Mullan died in 1999 he started work on his memoir that would never be published. In this snippet, the legendary Boxing News editor describes how he fell in love with the sport of boxing and in turn his job
Harry Mullan
Harry Mullan new

LIKE many another young man before me, I fell in love in a dance hall … but in my case the object of devotion was not a girl, but a sport, and the affair has endured more than 30 years.

I was eight years old at the time, and like most of my contemporaries in County Derry, I hero-worshipped Billy “Spider” Kelly, the Derry city stylist who held the British and Empire featherweight titles. I was growing obsessed with a sport I had never seen, nor had any realistic prospect of ever seeing, until one happy Wednesday I saw an advertisement in the local paper for an amateur show to be held that weekend in Palais de Danse, a long, low hall at the end of the promenade in my hometown, Portstewart. My pocket money at that time was 6d a week (2.5p). It bought a lot more then than it would now, but it was still a long way short of the admission charge. Until the night of the show I did not know whether or not I would be going, although I had talked of little else in the preceding days.

But that evening my father gave me half a crown (12.5p), a fortune to my eight-year-old eyes, and sent me off to watch the boxing. He cannot have guessed what he was starting. I was instantly captivated by the sport, by its atmosphere, its colour, its excitement, its humour, its passion.

 

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