“Bomber” and “Wallo” en­joy catch up with old boxing trainer

Dubbo Photo News - - Sport - By GE­OFF MANN

FAMED Aus­tralian coach of many cham­pi­ons, Johnny Lewis, flew into Dubbo re­cently and there to greet him were two of the lo­cal legends of boxing, Tom Car­ney and Gra­ham Wal­lace, as well as cur­rent cham­pion Rob “Gummy” Toomey.

The three men reunited for a fund-raiser for Gummy’s wife Kara at which Johnny was guest speaker.

Johnny re­called the days when “Bomber” and the great Joey Dono­van from the Kempsey area would catch the train to Syd­ney and stay at his home for their big fights.

“They were both cham­pion blokes, those two. And cham­pi­ons in the ring, too,” Johnny re­called with a real touch of rev­er­ence.

Tom Car­ney earned the nick­name “Bomber” for his abil­ity to land big punches.

In a stel­lar ca­reer through the late 1960s and ‘70s, Bomber be­came the first Dubbo boxer to rep­re­sent Aus­tralia. In 1973 he was se­lected in the NSW team fol­low­ing suc­cess at the State Ti­tles. He was crowned Aus­tralian cham­pion the same year and toured New Zealand as a fly­weight.

He was con­tro­ver­sially left out of the 1972 Olympics de­spite beat­ing the Aus­tralian cham­pion at the se­lec­tion tri­als in Perth.

At the same time Gra­ham “Wallo” Wal­lace was mak­ing his name in the ring. He was named the NSW Novice in 1971 then held State ti­tles from ‘72-’74.

“Wallo” won the Aus­tralian Golden Gloves in 1972 and fought for Aus­tralian ti­tles in ‘73 and ‘74.

Un­der the su­per­keen eyes of coaches Col Kirk­ness and “Bucky” Tink, and along­side Dubbo’s only Olympian Brian Tink, Wallo and Bomber pounded the boxing bags and sparred in the ring at the (then) Po­lice Boys Club.

“They were good times, you know. We had a lot of young boys com­ing through from an early age. Boxing was strong. It taught us all dis­ci­pline and re­spect and we made many, many friends,” Wallo said.

“Bomber was the first to wear the green and gold and then Tinky went on to Com­mon­wealth and Olympic Games, so Dubbo was recog­nised as one of the pow­er­houses of the sport in the coun­try,” he told Dubbo Photo News.

Wallo men­tioned Ron So­den and Max Low as other great cham­pi­ons of an ear­lier era and com­mented on former Aus­tralian Heavy­weight Cham­pion Eric Cham­ber­lain who trained at the same gym.

“He was so re­laxed. He just seemed to take it in his stride and then when the Cham­pi­onships came around, he got in there and showed every­one who was boss,” Wallo laughed.

While Bomber is no longer in good health, his friends keep close con­tact with wife Gae and the fam­ily. It was Wallo and Gummy who picked the mighty cham­pion up from home so he could meet up with “Johnny” at the air­port.

“Wallo” is still in­volved with the sport, as­sist­ing Gummy and Kara at their Pound for Pound Gym.

“It is some­thing in­side me that makes me want to pass on the many skills of the sport. Kids need a fo­cus, and this is a good way for them to get fit, get rid of the frus­tra­tions of ev­ery­day life and maybe find a fu­ture. Not too many will make it to the top like Johnny’s best (pro­teges) like Jeff Fenech, Jeff Hard­ing and Kostya Tszyu, but they will have learned there is a way to do things that hope­fully set them­selves up for life,” he said pas­sion­ately.


Left to right, Johnny Lewis, Bomber Car­ney, Gra­ham Wal­lace and Gummy Toomey.

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