THIS year’s thoroughly successful British Ex-Boxers’ Hall of Fame has been and gone – and plans have already begun for next year’s, to be hosted by the Welsh EBA, whose secretary, Cyril Thomas, has provided the relevant information. The date – September 20, 2020, the venue – the Mercure Holland House Hotel, Newport Road, Cardiff. Tickets will be available from Friday November 1, priced £39.50 per head for a three-course dinner, plus coffee or tea. These can be booked on 029 2086 3452 – if you get the answerphone please leave contact details. Tickets will be sent out after payment is received. Cyril goes on: “We have secured a discount rate of £79 b/b for a single room and £89 b/b for a double for the Awards night only, which can be booked by phoning Reservations and booking for the British Ex-Boxers’ Hall of Fame Awards on September 20, 2020 and claiming these prices.” The phone number is 029 2043 5000. “Alas,” Cyril says, “we could not secure a reduction for the Saturday night as they claim that Saturdays are premium rates. These are £139 single and £149 double b/b.”.
My late fellow-writer Ken Jones was a proud Welshman, and it was standing room only at his funeral last week. Although inevitably a sad occasion, the theme was very much a celebration of Ken’s life, both during the service and the reception afterwards. I was very pleased to meet Geraint Thomas, whose father, Eddie, won European, Commonwealth and British welterweight tittles – and went on to become a leading manager and cutman, and promoter. Next week – Friday November 8 – Geraint is putting on a special tribute night to Eddie, at the Penybarren Social Club, Merthyr Tydfil. This is to celebrate the 70th anniversary (November 15, 1949) of Eddie’s points win over Henry Hall in Sheffield, to become Merthyr’s first-ever British champion. Several ex-fighters that he looked after will be there – including Ken Buchanan MBE, whom Eddie took to the undisputed world lightweight championship, and who will be making the trip down from Scotland. Tickets are £20 per head, including a souvenir programme.
I hope the evening’s a success. I remember Eddie well – I never saw him box, but I met him, and spoke to him, many times. Leading Welsh fighters he managed included brilliant boxer Howard Winstone, whom I’ll never forget watching win the vacant WBC featherweight title at the Albert Hall in January 1968, halting Japan’s Mitsunori Seki on a cut, and Colin Jones, who came agonisingly close to winning the WBC welterweight belt. As a promoter Eddie put on some good-value shows in London in the ‘70s and ‘80s. He was also a very nice man. Welsh EBA Vice-Chairman Wynford Jones has produced a very informative account of Eddie’s career, and I’ve no doubt many EBA members will attend. Going back to Ken Jones, he was a great supporter of the game, both pro and amateur – and a few years ago he instigated the Ken Jones Award for Britain’s Best Amateur of the Year. Ken always took great pride and pleasure in presenting the award at the Boxing Writers’ Club Annual Dinner – sadly, of course, this time it wasn’t possible, so Frank Warren did the honours. Winner was European Games champion and World silver medallist Pat McCormack. Winner of the Geoffrey Simpson Award for Britain’s Best Young Boxer was British and Commonwealth heavyweight champion Daniel Dubois, who receives a nice compliment in the current Punch Lines– Essex EBA’s monthly newsletter. “It made a change to see a young heavyweight who is modest and polite. Well done, Daniel, it was a pleasure to listen to your speech.” Other EBAs represented at this month’s Dinner at the Savoy included London, Home Counties, Brighton and Central (Midlands). Brighton Chairman Ernie Price was in his usual good form. “We always have a packed house at our monthly meetings – 80 to 100,” he said. That’s good to hear.