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EBA newsletter – August 27

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Action Images/Andrew Couldridge
Scott Welch toasted by the EBA

CONGRATULATIONS to Manchester EBA Life President Tommy Proffitt, and his wife Hilda, on celebrating their 68th wedding anniversary.

Tommy won the ABA bantamweight title in 1948, and turned pro the same year. In just over five years he packed in 47 bouts, winning 34 and drawing one.

In September 1950 he beat old rival Bobby Boland on a fifth-round disqualification in a British bantamweight title eliminator – his second win in three bouts with Boland, both by disqualification. That earned him a final eliminator, just over two months later, against Peter Keenan – and Keenan won in two rounds and went on to beat Danny O’Sullivan for the crown.

Tommy carried on, and met some good people – including Commonwealth flyweight champion Jake Tuli, in an overweight match, and two bouts with future world featherweight champion Hogan “Kid” Bassey, of Nigeria. As well as the wedding anniversary, Tommy celebrated his 92nd birthday last month (July 13), so congratulations on that too.

And congratulations to Manchester chairman Jimmy Lewis and his wife, Jackie, who have also celebrated a wedding anniversary.

Several EBAs award trophies to local boxers, which is a great way of showing they support the current scene – but Manchester also award trophies to long-serving members, in recognition of their faithful service. Long-standing committee members Roy Richardson, Jeff Hunter and Geoff Shaw were recently awarded trophies, and also made honorary Vice-Presidents of MEBA.

I think that’s a great idea. Associations don’t run themselves – a lot of time is given up, and work done behind the scenes, to deal with the normal day-to-day running, never mind organising special functions. Appreciation is so important – so well done, Manchester, and maybe other EBAs could think of doing the same.

I remember Geoff Shaw as a pro light-heavy in the late 60s-early 70s. In December 1970 he caused an upset by becoming the first man to beat “Gypsy” Johnny Frankham, albeit on a cut. Frankham of course went on to become British champion, but never met Shaw again.

Lots to read in the current Brighton EBA newsletter, including an article on former local heavyweight Scott Welch.

Since hanging up his gloves in 1999, Scott has stayed involved in the game, and is a keen member of Brghton EBA – and also head trainer at Brighton and Hove ABC (“putting it all back in,”) as he puts it. He has also raised a lot of money for charity – climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and completing the 250-mile Marathon des Sables (Marathon of the Sands) in the Sahara Desert.

Scott won the ABA heavyweight title in 1992 and turned pro the same year. In just under seven years he had 26 bouts, winning 22 (17 inside-schedule).

I recall covering him for his local paper at the Albert Hall in July 1995, when he knocked out Julius Francis in 10 rounds to win the Southern Area belt. Another 10th-round win, over the late James Oyebola, brought him the British and Commonwealth titles – and next time out he beat Joe Bugner in six session to become WBO Intercontinental champion.

A shot at the title proper, against Henry Akinwande, ended in a points loss – as did a return with Julius Francis, for the British and Commonwealth titles. Scott never boxed again – but, as noted, he’s done a lot for the game since retiring. To quote from the newsletter, “We at BEBA are so proud of Scott.”

Wales EBA hold their annual get-together this Sunday (September 1) at Taff’s Well Social Club, Cardiff Road, Taff’s Well, Cardiff CF15 7QD. This is always a good day, and I hope it goes well this time.

Latest on Croydon chairman Barry Penny is that he’s been transferred to the Hayes Care Home, 50 Hayes Court, Kenley CR8 5LA. “He’s loving it – it’s really nice,” his partner, Irene, told me. “He says they treat him like royalty! “With luck he should be home this coming weekend.” We all hope so, Barry.

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