Feature | Premium | Apr 30 2019

How Sammy McCarthy became British boxing royalty

When Sammy McCarthy made his professional debut on this day in 1951 nobody could have known what an incredible mark he would leave on the sport
Sammy McCarthy
1954-06-01 - PA-Reuter - Sammy and Ronnie Clayton weigh in for their British title fight

ROCKY MARCIANO, Archie Moore, Sugar Ray Robinson, Kid Gavilan, Carmen Basilio, Ike Williams, Willie Pep and Sandy Sadler… they were all exceptional. But if you were a fighter, would you want one of them in your division?

In the early 1950s, these were some of the stars occupying world thrones. Add to this the fact that there were only eight weights then, with one world champion to each, and it’s easy to see that – even for the most gifted boxers – winning a world crown was unlikely.

So for most UK fighters, a British title was the ultimate goal; that and a European crown were the pinnacles of realistic ambition. Accordingly, there were many more fighters vying for domestic honours and a British championship win was hugely prestigious.