STILL IN THE GAME

Boxing News - - YESTERDAY’S HEROES - EMAIL si­monold­timers@google­mail.com with your ex-boxer as­so­ci­a­tion news.

Two ex- ghters are now coaches at am­a­teur clubs I WAS shocked to learn of the death of Mick Smith, for so many years a real stal­wart of the EBA move­ment. Mick and his brother, Bill, used to travel all over the coun­try to at­tend EBA meet­ings and func­tions, and I’m sure all my read­ers will join me in send­ing con­do­lences to Bill and all Mick’s friends. I learned a few days be­fore­hand that Mick had ter­mi­nal can­cer and had been given six months to live, but in fact he died fol­low­ing a heart at­tack. Mick was Pres­i­dent of the Eastern Area EBA, with Bill Vice-pres­i­dent, and I had to break the news to Sec­re­tary Ron Springall. “I can’t be­lieve it,” Ron said. “I was speak­ing to him at the week­end.”

Ron also gave me the sad news that Eastern Area were fold­ing. “We’ve only got two mem­bers now – we can’t keep go­ing,” he said. “We just can’t at­tract new blood.” That’s the prob­lem so many EBAS have, of course, and many of them have worked out strate­gies to try to get new peo­ple in. Ip­swich, for in­stance, has in­sti­tuted an­nual tro­phies for the area’s best ama­teurs, and mem­bers also sup­port lo­cal pros by at­tend­ing their fights.

They also hold two lunches each year, and I was honoured to be in­vited to the one this month at the Ip­swich Ho­tel, Cop­dock. An ex­cel­lent roast meal, and a great at­mos­phere. An in­scribed tankard was pre­sented to Pres­i­dent Vic Thur­low, whom Sec­re­tary Erik Roper de­scribed in his ci­ta­tion as “a stal­wart and linch­pin of our As­so­ci­a­tion for many years.” Af­ter­wards, Vic told me he had been a mem­ber for around 30 years, and Pres­i­dent for the past six. I was de­lighted to be on the same ta­ble as a num­ber of peo­ple I knew, or knew of. Erik has been a reg­u­lar cor­re­spon­dent for years, and also there was the Goult fam­ily – Mark, plus par­ents Cliff and Jackie, reg­u­lar at­ten­dees at EBA func­tions. Mark’s health prob­lems have been well-doc­u­mented, and he and his fam­ily have the true fight­ing spirit.

Two men I remember as box­ers are now run­ning am­a­teur clubs. Gra­ham Moughton was a fine am­a­teur, who cap­tained the UK team at the 1972 Mu­nich Olympics. He pro­moted for a time, but now de­votes him­self to the Hol­land Shore ABC.

For­mer ABA semi-fi­nal­ist Rory Burke, there with wife Julie, is trainer for Pa­tricks ABC. I remember Rory as a pro in the 1980s – in fact I cov­ered his de­but for BN in Au­gust 1981. It was at Car­row Road sta­dium (Nor­wich City’s foot­ball ground), and just about the weird­est set-up I’ve ever ex­pe­ri­enced – the ring set up on a stage erected on scaf­fold­ing above one

end of the pitch, with a steep flight of steps to be ne­go­ti­ated by fight­ers, of­fi­cials and re­porters to get to ring­side. But it worked. In the main event, two-weight Bri­tish and Euro­pean cham­pion Pat Cowdell out­pointed French­man Sa­muel Meck – and Rory Burke, I wrote, “showed plenty of prom­ise,” forc­ing Keith Fore­man to re­tire af­ter two rounds with a dam­aged nose. In all, Rory had 15 bouts, win­ning six and draw­ing one. He chal­lenged Paul Hug­gins for the South­ern Area ti­tle.

As most of you know, the 2019 Bri­tish Ex-box­ers Hall of Fame Lun­cheon is be­ing staged by Es­sex EBA. The date is Sun­day Septem­ber 22, and tick­ets can be ob­tained from Sec­re­tary Ray­mond Lee – but not be­fore Novem­ber 1. The ticket hot­line num­ber is 0780 773 9560, and the cost is £35 per head. “We have not in­creased the price since the HOF started,” Ray said. De­mand is bound to be huge – this is al­ways a sell-out – but please note that tick­ets will not be sent out un­til pay­ment is re­ceived.

Es­sex hold their Christ­mas Party on De­cem­ber 16 – di­rectly af­ter their monthly meet­ing at their HQ, the Naval and Mil­i­tary Club, 20 Royal Street, Southend-on-sea, SS1 1DU. Tick­ets are £15 each and there will be a buf­fet, raf­fle and live mu­sic.

North Staffs EBA Sec­re­tary Richard Vaughan con­tacted me to say that they now meet on the first Wed­nes­day of the month at 7.30pm at The Leop­ard, 21 Mar­ket Place, Burslem, Stoke-on-trent, ST6 3AA. Their Christ­mas Din­ner is on Wed­nes­day De­cem­ber 19.

Si­mon Euan-smith

EBA cor­re­spon­dent

SAD LOSS: Mick Smith, pic­tured with his brother Bill [right], will be missed

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.