Sunday 28 April 2013

Panama Al Brown thrills British fight fans

At 5 feet 11 with long spindly arms and legs and not a spare ounce of flesh on his wiry body, it’s astonishing that Al Brown ever made the 8 stone 6 lb bantamweight limit, let alone that he dominated that division as few others have done. 

What made Brown all the more remarkable was that in spite of his willowy appearance he was tremendously strong and carried the punch of a man two or three weight classes heavier.

He simply toyed with many of his opponents who – typically conceding half a foot or more in height and being similarly disadvantaged in reach – could find no antidote for those lead-pipe arms, that jack-in-the-box style and nimble footwork. Often they resorted to charging in and were laid out flat by Brown’s slicing uppercuts, delivered with startling speed and timing.

Latin America's first world boxing champion

Brown had taken up boxing belatedly, his interest piqued by watching American soldiers box when he worked as a clerk for the US Shipping Board at the Panama Canal Zone.

Saturday 20 April 2013

Death of Bob Darley - Army and Navy Featherweight Champion 1908 and 1909

In the Sporting Life dated Tuesday March 27th 1917 the following notice appeared:


We have received a communication from Mr J J Johnson informing us of the death of Sgt. Major Bob Darley, the well-known featherweight boxer. It appears that he was taken prisoner when Kut fell, but was so weak and ill that he was left in hospital in Baghdad, and died there last October. 

Darley, who was attached to the West Kent Regiment, will be remembered as winning the Navy and Army featherweight championships in 1908 and 1909, while in civilian rings he won several money matches. Standing with right hand and foot foremost, he was an awkward proposition to all 9st. men.

Wednesday 3 April 2013

Famous Pugilists of the English Prize Ring 1719-1870

Mick Hill has recently produced a worthy book on the English Prize Ring. For those of you who don't know Mick, he has long held an interest in boxing, and in particular, the days of bare-knuckle fighting.

Mick has produced a 200-page book on the prominent boxers of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and he has ensured that many of the lesser-known names of this period are included, in the form of mini-biographies. There are nearly 80 pugilists featured within the book and some of them will be new to even the most fervent follower of boxing during the bare-knuckle age. Two of the first three names included within the book, for instance, are Tom Pipes and Bill Gretting, and it is a welcome change to see the stories of men such as these recorded.