SAY­ING GOOD­BYE

De­tails of a much-loved EBA stal­wart’s funeral, and a spe­cial trib­ute in his hon­our

Boxing News - - YESTERDAY’S HEROES - EBA cor­re­spon­dent Si­mon Euan-smith

MICK SMITH’S funeral will be held at Mint­lyn Cre­ma­to­rium, Lynn Road, King’s Lynn, Nor­folk at 1pm on Mon­day No­vem­ber 11. My thanks to East­ern Area EBA Sec­re­tary Ron Springall for the in­for­ma­tion. I’m sure there’ll be a great turn-out from the box­ing fra­ter­nity. I’ve re­ceived sev­eral trib­utes to Mick, from mem­bers and of­fi­cials of dif­fer­ent EBAS – “stal­wart” was the word that came up time and again.

Hast­ings EBA Chair­man Dave Har­ris is plan­ning a very spe­cial trib­ute. As most of you know, Dave is plan­ning to set up a home – The Ring­side Rest and Care Home – for ex-box­ers in need, and now one of the rooms in the home will be named in hon­our of Mick. “He did so much for the EBA move­ment,” Dave said. “He de­serves it.”

Dave says plans for the home are pro­gress­ing well. “We’ve nearly got char­ity sta­tus fi­nalised – it’s with the Char­i­ties Com­mis­sion,” he said. “We’ve got some good peo­ple on board – [BN edi­tor and Brighton EBA Pres­i­dent] Matt Christie, Paul Fair­weather, John Oliver, Karen Knight. We’ve got to raise £10m. It will be a 36-bed­room unit, along the lines of the home run by the Royal Va­ri­ety Club of Great Bri­tain. Their co-or­di­na­tor, Pete Hin­ton, has been ab­so­lutely bril­liant with help and ad­vice, and so has [for­mer Bri­tish heavy­weight cham­pion] Scott Welch, who owns 11 nurs­ing homes and knows what it’s all about.

“We’re hav­ing two fundrais­ing weeks next year – Fe­bru­ary 3-10 and June 2-9 – and we’re hop­ing the whole Great Bri­tain box­ing world will take part, with char­ity walks all over the coun­try. There’ll be all sorts of events, and mem­o­ra­bilia on sale. And one man’s go­ing to run the Manch­ester Marathon. He’ll be aim­ing to break the record for run­ning it in all-box­ing at­tire – that’s cur­rently 3 hours 20 min­utes, held by an Amer­i­can.”

I’m de­lighted to hear it’s all go­ing so well with this am­bi­tious and worth­while project.

Es­sex EBA know the im­por­tance of sup­port­ing to­day’s lo­cal fighters, and the front page of the Oc­to­ber Punch Lines has a photo of pro wel­ter­weight Michael Fon­seca, a Cuban based in Southend. And there’s a re­port in­side of Fon­seca’s pro de­but, against Richard Sa­muels at York Hall last month. Michael is an Es­sex EBA mem­ber, which is great to hear – re­cruit­ing new blood is so im­por­tant. The re­port starts by say­ing that Fon­seca “was well sup­ported by mem­bers of the Es­sex EBA,” and I’m sure that’ll con­tinue.

There’s also a fas­ci­nat­ing piece on

for­mer world light­weight cham­pion Ken Buchanan, who “is to be im­mor­talised in the form of a statue in his home city of Ed­in­burgh.” Af­ter two years of fundrais­ing, the £50,000 tar­get has been met, which is great news.

Buchanan, now 73, was Bri­tish, Euro­pean and world light­weight cham­pion. He shocked the box­ing world in 1970 by ven­tur­ing to San Juan and beat­ing reign­ing WBA champ Is­mael La­guna on a split de­ci­sion. He uni­fied the ti­tle the fol­low­ing year by outscor­ing Ruben Navarro. He would be de­throned by the great Roberto Du­ran the next year, but would go on to beat fu­ture world cham­pion Jim Watt in an all-scot­tish Bri­tish ti­tle bout, win­ning a Lons­dale Belt out­right. He also won the Euro­pean crown. He fi­nally re­tired in 1982, with a record of 61 wins and eight losses. He fully de­serves this hon­our.

Box­ing peo­ple, and EBA mem­bers, have al­ways been known for sup­port­ing good causes. Re­cently, Es­sex Sec­re­tary Ray­mond Lee’s wife, Teresa, took part in a 24-hour darts marathon which raised nearly £3,000 for four-year-old Isla Ca­ton, who suf­fers from neu­rob­las­toma can­cer and is cur­rently hav­ing treat­ment in Barcelona. Teresa was spon­sored by many Es­sex mem­bers, so well done to them, and to her.

The cur­rent Scot­tish EBA news­let­ter has an ar­ti­cle on an­other hero of mine, the late Wal­ter Mcgowan MBE, who won five ma­jor ti­tles (in­clud­ing the WBC fly­weight crown) and was scan­dalously robbed of a sixth (he trounced Euro­pean ban­tamweight boss Tom­maso Galli in Rome, only for the ref­eree to de­clare a draw).

IM­MOR­TAL: A statue of the great Ken Buchanan will be erected in Ed­in­burgh

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