CONGRATULATIONS to Leicester EBA for their enthusiastic support for the Ringside Rest and Care Home. “Will you help?” is the headline of their current newsletter, and the lead article explains the various ways this can be done. Making donations (regularly or as a one-off) is one way, and there is a wide selection of merchandise for sale – keyrings, miniature boxing gloves, T-shirts and the like. And individuals are undertaking projects – former world welterweight champion John H. Stracey, described as “a great ambassador”, will be taking part in the Wigan 5km run on March 22, and Mark Massow of the Sweet Science Gym will be doing the Sussex 100 (miles). Just Giving pages will be set up for both these events.
Now registered as a charity, the Ringside Charitable Trust have come up with another idea for raising funds – and also benefiting EBAs. They have contacted every EBA asking that one of their members be appointed as an agent, responsible for selling Trust merchandise and distributing free leaflets regarding direct debit/standing order payments. The EBA concerned will get 10 per cent of all sales (the remainder going to the Trust, of course). The Trust readily acknowledges the support they’ve been given by the various EBAs, and this sounds a great idea. For more details, email Trust treasurer, Paul Fairweather, on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elsewhere in the Leicester newsletter is a tribute to the late Larry O’Connell, noting that he boxed and trained in the Army and England squads alongside Leicester’s current Chairman, Mick Greaves. The two became firm friends. And there’s a note that two committee members, Dave Roberts and Deputy Chairman Sean Ryan, have recently been in hospital but are now home. I’m sure everyone will join me in wishing both a full recovery – and in congratulating Dave and his wife, Josie, on their Diamond wedding anniversary (60 years) last week.
The current Brighton newsletter also mentions John H. Stracey’s forthcoming charity run – and records that several Brighton members recently attended an amateur show at Moulesecoomb BC and, next day, the Hastings EBA monthly meeting. As I keep stressing, it’s vital that EBAs support both the current scene and one another – so well done Brighton on doing both.
There are also articles on two notable heavyweights, American Tommy “Hurricane” Jackson and Canada’s Larry Gains, by Leigh Crompton (a very welcome first-time visitor to Croydon EBA this month) and Terry Francis respectively. Jackson campaigned between 1952 and 1960, meeting some of the world’s best. He won 34 and drew one of 44. In 1956 he lost a split decision to Floyd Patterson in a final eliminator for the world title left vacant by the retirement of Rocky Marciano. Patterson went on to beat the great Archie Moore for the title, and gave Jackson the first shot – but this time Tommy was floored and stopped in 10 rounds. Jackson never boxed in the UK, but in April 1956 (his last bout before the Patterson eliminator) he met former British champion Johnny Williams in Washington, winning in four rounds.
I had the pleasure of meeting Larry Gains several times in the last few years of his life, when he was living in Wallington (Surrey). He was a true gentleman. Terry mentions Larry’s autobiography, The Impossible Dream – the title referring to the impossibility of a black man getting a shot at the world heavyweight title. Larry campaigned in the UK and Europe, beating two future world champions – Max Schmeling and Primo Carnera. In June 1931 he KO’d Phil Scott in two rounds in Leicester to win the Commonwealth title, and he would make three successful defences. South African Don McCorkindale held him to a draw at the Albert Hall in January 1932, so Larry gave him a return just over a month later, in the same ring – and won on points. Australia’s George Cook was also outpointed before Larry lost his title to the legendary Len Harvey.