THE first indication I had that my name was on the International Boxing Hall of Fame ballot paper, in the Observers category, was when an email dropped in from Matt Christie. I had to read it twice before I really took it in and even now I find it an incredible honour to be on that list. It was appropriate that it should be the editor of Boxing News alerting me to this, as it was through BN that I took my first steps in boxing journalism 50 years ago.
My original dream was of becoming a professional footballer, but an ankle injury and a couple of operations killed that ambition when I was in my early twenties. My focus then became the day job I had in the Oil & Gas business and my hobby was compiling records of overseas boxers. I had no thoughts of using that information other than for my own enjoyment. All of that changed with one phone call to Ron Olver, who was then the Assistant Editor at Boxing News. Ron, a lovely man, saw some potential in what I was doing and gradually sucked me in to working with Boxing News. Ron acted as my mentor and encouraged me to do the first world, European and Commonwealth ratings for Boxing News. That led to Graham Houston, then-editor, encouraging me to write my first feature and Harry Mullan – when he took over from Graham – agreeing to publish my weekly World Scene column which I did for more than 40 years.
With Boxing News as my springboard, I found myself invited to be part of the first WBC Rating Committee, a technical advisor to the EBU, Chairman of the Commonwealth Boxing Council and had John McCain’s research team consulting with me when working on the Muhammad Ali Act.