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