South Western Times - - Front Page - David Charlesworth

AGE has not wea­ried the pas­sion of WA box­ing stal­wart Bill Ivory who at age 95, still has his cap in the ring train­ing box­ers at his Aus­tralind home.

A ma­jor fig­ure in WA box­ing, Bill has been a pro­fes­sional fighter, a ref­eree trainer, three-time State coach and an avid vol­un­teer at the Po­lice Cit­i­zens and Youth Cen­tre.

Bill was also a mem­ber of the WA Box­ing Com­mis­sion, re­sign­ing in favour of stay­ing more in­volved as a ref­eree and judge.

Born in Mel­bourne, Bill started train­ing as a boxer at age 14 to fol­low in the foot­steps of his older brother Harry, a pro­fes­sional boxer, and of­ten at­tended bouts at the West Mel­bourne Sta­dium.

Bill’s first pro­fes­sional fight was in front of 3000 peo­ple at the sta­dium – a fight his brother had signed him up for with­out telling him.

“I was pet­ri­fied, not of the bloke I was go­ing to box, but the crowd,” he said.

Though he won a num­ber of army cham­pi­onships, Bill says he was never a cham­pion but a good stu­dent who con­tin­ued to learn through­out his ca­reer.

“I be­came what they termed a pretty clever sort of boxer, which meant my en­deav­our was to hit and not be hit,” Bill said.

“I al­ways reck­oned that any silly bug­ger can take a punch to give a punch but that’s no way to get out of box­ing with­out be­ing re­ally hurt.”

Bill served in the army dur­ing World War II, at the age of 19, train­ing troops in phys­i­cal fit­ness, un­armed com­bat and box­ing un­til the end of the war.

He ar­rived in WA in 1951 and when he trained to re-en­ter box­ing he did so at the Perth Po­lice Cit­i­zens Youth Cen­tre.

“The chap who was run­ning it then said, watch­ing me train­ing, ‘how about a few tips to the kids Bill?’ and that’s vir­tu­ally how I got in­volved with the po­lice boys,” he said.

Mov­ing down to Bun­bury Bill has worked with the lo­cal youth cen­tre ever since, train­ing young men in fit­ness and box­ing many of whom have gone on to bright ca­reers.

“There were lots of good pupils there, fel­las who went on and boxed com­pet­i­tively, in the am­a­teurs, and won State ti­tles,” he said.

Bill also be­gan and coached a women’s fit­ness club at the youth cen­tre which he ran for 25 years.

It was only in 2011 that he stepped back from his role at the youth cen­tre.

It was when Bill moved to WA that he be­gan was a ref­er­ee­ing and judg­ing fights, re­tir­ing from pro­fes­sional box­ing af­ter a ca­reer of 55 bouts in eight years.

“I ref­er­eed quite a few Aus­tralian ti­tle fights and quite a few fights from over­seas fight­ers fight­ing Aus­tralian box­ers,” he said.

From 1978, Bill be­gan train­ing box­ers at the youth cen­tre and at his own home.

To­day at age 95, he is still train­ing box­ers and not charg­ing them any­thing for his wis­dom.

“I picked all the tech­ni­cal points that I could over the years and that’s what I en­deav­oured to pass on to the fel­las that I’ve coached,” he said.

I be­came what they termed a pretty clever sort of boxer, which meant my en­deav­our was to hit and not be hit.

– Bill Ivory

Pic­ture: Jon Gell­weiler

Still fight­ing fit at 95, Aus­tralind’s Bill Ivory has spent decades in and out of the ring, teach­ing box­ing to gen­er­a­tions of young men.

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