THE rich history of British boxing has been enhanced by some great rivalries. It is not always left to the boxers to provide this, for one only has to look at the game today to see examples of the tug-of-war that exists between promoters. It is inevitable that this will be the case given the amount of money within the game at the top level. I don’t think that there has ever been a bigger feud between British promoters than that which existed between Jack Solomons and Harry Levene back in the 1960s and 1970s.
The two men were so similar, yet they could not bear to be in the same room as one another. Both were the sons of Jewish immigrants and were raised within the slums of London’s East End. They both became involved in boxing in their late teens, Solomons as a fighter and Levene as a manager, and between the two of them they promoted virtually every big fight in Britain between 1945 and 1980, and they both became very wealthy doing so.
Levene was slightly older than Solomons and he first came to prominence when he took a hard-punching young London featherweight, Danny Frush, to the States in 1917 where he manoeuvred him towards a tilt at the world champion, Johnny Kilbane. Sixty years later he was trying to do the same for another top London featherweight, Jimmy Flint.