Lancaster lost one of its sporting legends of the past when former professional boxer Johnny Barton died recently in a Morecambe nursing home aged ninety. Johnny, whose real name was Chippendale, started his boxing career during the Second World War whilst he was serving in the Royal Navy, but it was after he was demobbed in 1945 that it gained momentum.
Known as the ‘Fighting Lumberjack’ Johnny’s two biggest assets were his ability to take a punch without any adverse effect – he was never knocked out or stopped (except on cuts) in his sixty two bouts, something he attributed to the thick muscular neck which he developed – and also his incredible physical strength that helped him become a fearsome puncher. Johnny had done heavy manual jobs all his working life and it certainly paid dividends during his ring career.
These qualities helped Johhny become one of the country’s foremost light-heavyweights of the immediate post-war era. However, although it seems astonishing these days, during his time in the ring Johnny never boxed for a title.