Soap star to hit the stage as tragic fighter
be directed by David Hayman Jr. The play looks at Benny’s childhood in the slums leading up his boxing success – winning the British, European and World f lyweight titles against Jackie Brown in Manchester on September 9, 1935 – and the stardom which followed as well as his tragic demise. He held his titles until 1938 but, having turned to drink, his life spiralled out of control and he lost his world title on the scales when couldn’t make fighting-weight. He had to sell his house and pawn his trophies before his death. Stephen said: “It does set you back a wee bit when you look at how massive he was at the time and how quickly it all fell apart.
“I think the people he had around him were a factor but alcohol had a lot to do with it.
“Obviously, in this day and age, it is highlighted more and there is much more help for people with alcohol issues and depression.
“But, in those days, coming from the Gorbals, the west coast of Scotland, you are not going to talk about those things.”
Stephen, who is currently starring in panto Cinderella at the Glasgow Pavilion, has already been in training for the role. He added: “I have been hit t ing the g ym, going to boxing classes, just doing my best to keep in shape.
“You can see quite a few of his fights on YouTube and the speed with which he could throw punches was insane.
“He was so fast, a southpaw, and he didn’t have his guard up a lot – he just went for it.
“I’m very busy with River City and then panto so I don’t do much in between but this was something I just couldn’t say no to.”
TEAM Stephen’s River City co-star Holly Jack is also in play
CHAMP Benny Lynch