Tuesday 18 November 2014

Boxing in Morecambe Bay - a new book by Larry Braysher

In 2012 boxing historian and collector Larry Braysher produced a neat little book on the history of boxing in Morecambe entitled ‘Boxing by the Sea’.   Copies of this informative book are still available directly from the author.

To complete his historical overview of boxing in the area Larry has now written a second volume which covers boxing and boxers from the local communities of the area around Morecambe bay, particularly Lancaster but also including Heysham and the other small towns and villages that produced such good fighters throughout the twentieth century.

Every facet of the sport is included in this journey through the decades with anecdotes, amusing stories and reminiscences to enhance the wealth of statistical information on boxers from the area.

Saturday 17 May 2014

Pride of Poplar Boxing Statue Does London Proud

A statue to honour Britain’s youngest-ever world boxing champion, Teddy Baldock, has been unveiled in east London. 

It had been 82 years since his last professional fight and 43 years since his death, but rumour had it a London boxing legend was back in town and about to make a comeback. Incredibly, the rumour was true...

Yesterday, at Langdon Park in Poplar, east London, hundreds gathered to watch the unveiling of a life-size bronze statue fashioned in the likeness of Britain’s youngest-ever world boxing champion, Teddy Baldock, a star of the 1920s ring. The statue, which is the work of expert sculptor Carl Payne, has been erected at the Spotlight youth centre, fittingly just a few hundred yards from Baldock’s one-time Byron Street home.

Tuesday 22 April 2014

The tragic death of Tom Simmonette

One of the most difficult things to deal with when researching the history of boxing is in coming across the occasional sad reference to an old ring warrior who met his end in the boxing ring in which he fought. There have been surprisingly few ring deaths in the long history of the sport but those that did occur left, inevitably, a deep wound to those within the sport who came into contact with the boxer and, most particularly, to the members of his family. Even today I am sometimes contacted by people whose ancestor died in this way and it is gratifying for me to find that whilst the boxer, and the circumstances leading to his death, are long-forgotten, the memory of the boxer is still cherished by those ancestors living today.

Late last year I heard from Thomas and Joan Simmonette following the passing of Thomas's father 'Tam' Simmonette of Uddingston, South Lanarkshire. Tam was the son of Robert, whose brother Tom died following a contest in January 1922. Tam had photos and information about Tom and he told his story to the family. Joan and Tom wish Tom's story to be told and for his memory to live on. Together with the items that I held on Tom already we can pay tribute to him today.

Thursday 20 March 2014

George Markwick – Heavy Hitter from a Sleepy Sussex Village

The quaint West Sussex village of Cuckfield has never been a breeding-ground of boxers. It did produce one man, though, who made his mark as an amateur and professional – a heavyweight of the 1930s and 40s called George Markwick.

Markwick was born in Cuckfield in 1916, and as a 'regular' with the Royal Artillery he won the heavyweight championship of the British Army in 1937. He had around 70 amateur contests and lost only six. Two of these defeats were to Sweden's Olle Tandberg, who became European heavyweight champion as a pro.

Markwick made his professional debut on 10 May 1937 when he knocked out Gunner Read in four rounds at the Holborn Stadium. He stayed unbeaten in his first 27 pro fights, 22 of them ending inside the distance, which proves what a puncher he was. But in fight number 28, Markwick was stopped in the seventh round by fellow big-hitter Len Rowlands (Dagenham) at the Devonshire Club in a scheduled eight-rounder. It had been a hard-fought battle which for a while seemed as though it could go either way.