Tuesday 26 March 2013

Programme Notes : Albert Finch v Bob Cleaver

Date: May 24th 1949.

Venue: Selhurst Park Football Ground, Sydenham.

Promoter: Bill Goodwin and Alf Hart.

Attendance: approximately 4,000.

Contest between Albert Finch of Croydon, ranked number 1 contender for the British Middleweight Title and Bob Cleaver of the Borough, ranked 3 star (just outside the top ten) in the British Middleweight rankings

Distance: 8 x 3 minute rounds.

Weights: Finch 11st 8lbs, Cleaver 11st 4½ lbs.

Outcome: Finch won by knockout in the seventh round.

Programme notes

Albert Finch, Croydon's "local boy makes good" enters the ring tonight to tread the last rung of a ladder that has Dick Turpin at the top, complete with the Middleweight Championships of Great Britain and the British Empire.

On June 20th, Albert shares that top rung, namely the ring at Birmingham Football Ground, with Dick Turpin for 15 rounds, and must be credited with a splendid chance of bringing back to his home town the aforementioned Middleweight Championships. He carries with him the best wishes of all Croydon-ians, including those of his old "friendly enemy" and erstwhile Middleweight Mark Hart.

Tonight's fight is no mere "warming up". Albert has trained and worked with his usual vigour, and is sure to be "in the pink" for what promises to develop into a real "needle" match. Bob Cleaver, who as one of England's leading Amateur Welterweights, clashed with Albert Finch on four occasions. Honours were shared with two wins each, leaving things rather in the air. Tonight, therefore can be described as a "rubber match" and we can be certain that both contestants will be striving for a decisive win, to prove to their followers which of the two is the better man.

During the war years Cleaver was in the ranks of the National Fire Service, and won the Welterweight Championship of that body. On leaving the N.F.S., Bob became a professional, and began fighting as a Middleweight. The scalps to his credit include those of Alby Hollister, Ron Pudney, George Dilkes, the Northern Area Champion, and Ginger Sadd, Eastern Area Champion. Tonight he hopes to add the golden locks of Albert Finch to that collection.


  1. My Father fought both these men. His name is Jimmy Davis (Bethnal Green) Have you any thing about him Please. From Jimmy Davis (son)

  2. Hi Jimmy

    Great to hear from you. I've come across your father's name a lot in connection with 40s and 50s boxing and later as the trainer of Terry Spinks and others.

    I was fortunate enough to interview one of your dad's childhood pals, the late Ted Berry, last year. Ted spoke very highly of your father as a boxer and as a person. He described Jimmy Davis as "poetry to watch" and told me, "How he never became British champion I'll never know" or words to that effect.

    It's worth dropping boxing historian Miles Templeton a line, as he may have some material on your father: http://boxinghistory.org.uk/hire.html

    And it's also well worth contacting the London Ex-Boxers Association (if you're not already in touch with them), as some of their members will have known your father well in his boxing days: http://www.londonexboxers.org.uk/

    All the best


  3. DearAlex, Thanks very much for your reply and kind words about my Father. I will try to get in touch with Miles Templeton as you suggested.

    Yours Faithfully,

    Jimmy Davis