History | Issue | Premium | Sep 24 2019

Boxing in the Blitz

Ernie Roderick and Eric Boon boxed at Anfield. Simon Euan Smith on this episode from boxing history
Ernie Roderick
Larry Braysher

TIME to look at some EBA newsletters. Mug’s Alley (Merseyside Former Boxers’ Association) devotes over four pages to an in-depth look at a bout held under the worst conditions possible – in the middle of the Blitz. It was at Liverpool Football Club’s home ground, Anfield, and it pitted two fine British champions – welter Ernie Roderick and lightweight Eric Boon – in a non-title 10-rounder. The date was September 21 1940, and in the preceding month Liverpool, an important port, had received plenty of attention from the Luftwaffe. The boxing show was held in the afternoon, instead of the evening, and British Boxing Board of Control officials asked promoter Johnny Best Sr if he planned to call it off. “Not unless they drop a bomb on the pitch,” he replied.

The show duly went on, and – as so often – the good big ‘un beat the good little ‘un, the smart boxing Roderick beating the big punching Boon on points. They would meet again, boxing at Harringay in 1947, with Roderick defending his title, and the result was the same.

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