Friday, February 10, 2012

THE GOLDEN AGE OF AMATEUR BOXING 1939 to 1968

THE GOLDEN AGE OF BOXING IN BRITISH COLUMBIA
- By Brian Zelley
                                          The "Sizzling Sixties" video


Introduction
Since 1966, I have written much about
amateur boxing, but in attempting to
focus on the Golden Age of boxing
in British Columbia, my pick is the
period 1939 to 1968.


The importance of the 1939 starting
point is the beginning of the 
provincial Golden Gloves tournament.
During this period, we would also see other tournaments
that have carried on with a few starting points such as
the Diamond Belt Tournament, the Bronze, Emerald
and Silver Gloves and then the Buckskin Gloves.


During the period 1939 to 1968, BC boxers would also
be active in participating in tournaments in the USA
with the three most active being the Golden Gloves
Boxing Championships in Portland, Seattle and Tacoma.


THE GOLDEN GLOVES ***A Rich History***


                                           *** A quick blast  ***
                       The Golden Gloves


The original Golden Gloves tournament in BC took place
in Vancouver and was called the "Vancouver Sun Golden Gloves".
Also involved in the earlier years was the "Vancouver Active Club".
The first Golden Boy in 1939 was PHIL VICKERY and the 1968
Golden Boy was RAY LAMPKIN of Portland, Oregon.


THE 1948 GOLDEN GLOVES" The Champions:
           (photo: The 1948 Golden Gloves' Champions
                        courtesy of John Paonessa)
                        Ius, Jamel, Langston, May,
                 Haddad, McPhee, Baxter, Walters 
                 
Along the way between 1939 and 1968, there would be many 
other boxers to earn the Golden Boy award including double
winner DICK FINDLAY in 1966 and 1967.
                         Jack Straza, 1959 BC Golden Boy


Boxers from British Columbia would also participate in the
Golden Gloves in Portland, Seattle and Tacoma.  Some names
from the early years include:
Gordon Grayson, Robert Hickey, Tommy Symes, Jackie Turner,
Norm Dawson, Bobby Parker, Joe Ashenbrenner, Roy Burnell,
Bert Lepitre, Freddy Steele, Vic Murdoch and Lyle Kehoe.


Some of the folks behind the early success of the annual 
Golden Gloves in those beginning years include many 
volunteers.  Some of the top level names include:
A. Hodgkisson, Charlie Sandford,  Bud Devoe,  Tom Flanagan, 
Hector McDonald, Tommy Moore, Billy Oates, Tommy Cruise,
and Billy Finlay of the "Vancouver Sun" newspaper. 


Some of the coaches in the early years include:
Tommy Gann, Russ Gatzke,  and Len Gervais


Names from the Forties:
* Art Burgess * Art Beaumont * Bert Lepitre * Bob Scott *
* Billy MacDonald * Buddy Welsh * Bus Lindsay *
* Chester Norton * Chester Orr * Chuck Cruickshank *
* Dick Cote * Don Harrison * Duquette Henri * Earl Cook * 
* Eddie Haddad * Elio Ius *  Everett Biggs  * Frank Almond * 
* Fraser Clark * Hal Robbins * Jack Crook * Jack Hamilton *
* Jack MacDonald * Jackie Turner *  Jerris Jamel  * Jim Andrews *
* Johnny Creanza * Ken McPhee *  Lennie Walters * Lyle Kehoe *
* Lyle Colling * Maurice Pratt * Norm Delaire * Norman Dawson *
* Ray Hass *  Ray Walters * Rod MacDonald * Sammy May *
* Stan Almond *  Stan Zokol  * Terry Doyle * Tommy Symes *
* Vic Murdoch * Wes Burnell * Gordon Woodhouse * Jim Crook
* Bobby Parker * Joe Ashenbrenner  * Robert Hickie * Roy Burnell *
*Jack Patterson * Alan Dunn *  Bill Wallace * Hank Egli * 
*Tony Strannan * Jack Herwynen * Jim Langston * Ray Baxter. 


THE FANTASTIC FIFTIES
Two of many interesting events in the Fifties included the start of 
the Emerald Gloves in 1951 and the British Empire Games in 1954.
The founder of the Emerald Gloves was Bro. A.C. O'GRADY.
The first tournament took place at the Vancouver College Gym
and the first Emerald Boy was Mel Jacobs followed by double 
winner Jimmy Walters (1952 and 1953) followed by Jimmy Hibbert.


The 1954 British Empire Games would see a Gold Medal victory by
Canadian Boxer Wilfie Greaves.


 NAMES FROM THE FIFTIES:
Some of the names of boxers that saw action in the Fifties:
* Barnie Grace, Bernie Hamilton,  Bert Wilkinson,
 Billy Adams, Billy Pinkus, Billy Stone, Bob Shires, 
Bobby Bates,  Brian O'Hare, Bruce Baille,  Dave Codville, 
Dave Errington,  Des Archer, Eddie Robertson, 
Freddy Curtis,  Gordon Rabey,  Harold Mann, Harry Clearsky, 
 Howard Abercrombie,  Jack Straza, Jimmy Walters,
 John Turton,  Johnny Phillips, Len Kupchak, Lennie Walters, 
Leo Logan,  Lindy Lindmoser, Lloyd Tahouney, Mel Jacobs,
Sandy Caldwell,   Skimp Williams, Tom McGaw, Willie Ira 





A Fifties Tournament - 1956
*Aside from the regular Golden Gloves tournaments, there
were many special tournaments such as the one April 1956
"Victoria Optimists International Tournament of Champions". 
The show was organized by the Optimists and members of
"The Greater Victoria Amateur Boxing Association"  headed
by the president Howard Curling.


Some of the boxers were:


MICKEY MAZUR
"GOLDEN BOY"


Mickey Mazur, Johnny Phillips, Gary Oakden, Brian O'Hare,
Skimp Williams, Rip Kirby, Bobby Hicks, Norm Jorgenson,
Richard Murickami, Tommy DelVeccio, Harold Mann,
Jimmy Walters, and Lindy Lindmoser.


Some of the coaches and officials were:
Jack O'Hanley, Paul Calve, Bert Lowes and Eric Simmonds.
Tom Crabbe,  Dick Francisco and Howard Curling.






The Sixties:  The last decade of the golden years.


*April 30, 1960:  Western Canada Championships:
It was called the"Shrine Invitational Western Canadian
Championships" and took place in Victoria, BC. 

Special guest for the tournament was former world
champion Jimmy McLarnin.  One of the many photos
included Jimmy with coaches Bert Lowes and Pat West
along with some of the Vancouver boxers including
Lindy Lindmoser, Bob Ginnetti, Billy Adams, 
and Winnie Schelt who was picked for the top
award of "Shrine Boy".  Vancouver boxer from
the South Hill club Paddy Clark did not make the
special photo with McLarnin, but he was the 
heavyweight champion of the tournament.

1965 *** FREDDY FULLER and FRED DESROSIERS***

*Freddy Fuller was named Golden Boy due to his victory 
in the finals against former Golden Boy Buddy Palmer.
*Fred Desrosiers would earn the Golden Boy runner-up award.
*Another boxer was the unknown HUGH LINDSAY from
the isolated town of 100 Mile House who shocked the 
Vancouver crowd with an upset victory over Clint Page.

1966 *** DICK FINDLAY wins Golden Boy award ***
*In 1966, Dick Findlay would shine in the Golden Gloves
and would follow-up with the special award in 1967.



1967 ***  DICK FINDLAY  and DAVE WYLIE  ***
two of  the vancouver based boxers that were stars in '67.
 *The boxers in the 1967 BC Golden Gloves prelim bouts would
set the stage for some interesting activity with some great opening
bouts of the Friday evening.  Some of the early bouts documented
by the "Vancouver Sun" would include some of the bouts such as:
Orland Ralph vs Leo Chabot, Steven Flajole vs Cliff Belcourt, Bob Kacer vs
Ken Henderson, Brian Zelley vs Vern Fouth, Freddy Fuller vs Dave Wylie, 
Fred Desrosiers vs Toby Crook, Ken Tommy vs Howard Hewitt, and
Jack Meda vs Bill Taylor.

1968 - THE END OF THE GOLDEN YEARS:


In 1968, there were 19 BC boxers engaged in the 1968
Seattle Golden Gloves:

1968 OREGON GOLDEN GLOVES


There were many boxers of the Sixties including
the 1960 Golden Boy from Victoria by the name
of Alan Curtis.  Some of the many names that
appeared in the Sixties Golden Gloves:
The first listed is Bill (Curly) Adams, he fought
 in the Fifties and Sixties in Golden Gloves action
 including a great victory in the finals of the 
1960 tournament with a victory over
SKIMP WILLIAMS who earned
most aggressive and best bout trophies.





THE TREASURE CHEST OF GOLDEN MEMORIES
(everyone involved or even siblings or children of those involved
have a story to tell or a few golden memories of the events, clubs,
boxers, coaches and officials, this section will be devoted to 
some of those golden memories.





***Brian Zelley*** Of that time period, my actual memories are
tied to the 1963 to 1968 time period.  Of course, the first memories
relate to Nanaimo's Newcastle Boxing Club and the other Island
clubs in Victoria and Port Alberni.  I remember the first boxer
that I had in my scrapbook was LARRY CARDINAL, and the
earliest open boxers that I remember best were FRED DESROSIERS,
TOMMY BLACK, and WAYNE POWELL.  I remember my Nanaimo
sparring partners in those early years such as ROGER NEPPER,
MIKE LAZARE, KEN STANT and TONY JAMES.   Of course,
the 1964 Vancouver Island Amateur Boxing Championships were
very important that would be used to revive the tournament in 1984.
I remember a visit to the Hastings club and sparring with Orland Ralph
and Kalman Santosi in January 1966.  But, there would be many more
memories in 1967 and 1968  in Golden Gloves and Diamond Belt 
Action and I remember some of the younger boxers starting out
at the Firefighters such as GORDIE LAWSON and JOHN GAMBLE.
But, along the way there were hundreds of names of boxers, coaches
and officials from SKIMP WILLIAMS  to BERT LOWES.  

THE PHOTO GALLERY (1939 to 1968)
*A few of the many photos of action or faces from 1939 to 1968.
*first in any list is one of the  greats, TOMMY PAONESSA:


             Fuller, Findlay, Wylie, Zelley, Lawson, Walters
                          Gamble, Scott, and Lindmoser 
                                      ROGER ADOLPH
Stan Smith, Frederick Fuller, Elio Ius, Clint Page and Bert Lowes
                     (photo of Lennie Walters courtesy Dale Walters)
                             Eddie Haddad - Frank Scott
                             Dick Findlay - Fred Desrosiers


                 Vancouver's South Hill Boxing Club 
                -  Coaches  Pat West and Bert Lowes -
                  Boxing in British Columbia in the Fifties
           boxers include Jimmy Walters and Lindy Lindmoser.


                     Faces from  the Golden Age of BC Boxing


THE HALLS and WALLS OF FAME, and SPECIAL AWARDS


Over the years some of the manny have been recognized with induction into 
a Canadian, Provincial, Municipal Sports Hall of Fame, some have been
recognized in the Boxing Canada Hall of Fame or the 2010 created
British Columbia Sports Hall of Fame.   Thn there is the Canadian
Military  Hall of Fame.    Then there are those special awards
 such as the Jimmy Symes award for junior boxers or the
Harold Mann award for non-boxers and is most often given to coaches
but a few officials have been selected. Then for the various tournaments
 there are  the top awards such as the Diamond Boy, Golden Boy,
Bronze Boy, Emerald Boy and Buckskin Boy and some of the other special awards over the years such as :best let han" "best footwork", "most aggressive" and "best fight"


British Columbia Amateur Boxing Hall of Fame
Was started in 2010 with the core group being 15 of which
many were connected with amateur boxing sometime during
the golden age of amateur boxing between 1939 and 1939/
Also, then more were selected in 2011 of which many of them
were also connected to the "GOLDEN AGE of BOXING".


Sixteen  of the individual inductees in 2010 and 2012 
part of the Golden Age of BC Amateur Boxing:
* Chris Ius * Dave Brown * Dick Findlay
*Eddie Haddad * Elio Ius * Fred Desrosiers * Fred Fuller
*Freddie Fuller *Frank Scott *Harold Mann*Jimmy Walters
              *Lennie Walters * Lindie Lindmoser 
                * Pat O'Reilly * Tommy Paonessa
                                       and
*1967 International Diamond Belt
 Centennial Boxing Championships
Boxers in the Finals were:
Derek Austin, Ron MacEachern, Frank Scott, Jamrs Logan, Wayne
Boyce, Brian Zelley, Dick Coulson, Ken Lee, Dave Wylie, Freddy
Fuller, Jim Russell, Pat O'Reilly, Donato Paduano, Dennis Rorick,
George Smith, Ron Wilson, Jams Allen, Marijan Kolar, 
Wesley Craven  and Bill Taylor.


Semi-Finalists and Other Competitors:
Randy Jones, Allen Webb, Del Deugau, Ted Webb, Andy Anderson,
Dick Findlay, Steve Tohill, Jerry Winters, Gord Sinclair, Wm. Daniels,
Sam Wilson, Clint Page, Terry Eastman, Ken Alexander, Mel Harris,
Don Staab, Ken Henderson, Mike Fisher, Brian Gray, Stan Parker,
Larry Houseman, Ronnie Brown, Ed Williams, Thurman Mikes, 
Robert Hawkins, Chester Douglas, Les Vegas, Colin Coleridge, 
Kalman Santosi, Frank Ball,Bruce Geis, Richard Fleck, Larry High,
Bob Winters and Jamie Phills. 


Guest Referee:***Undefeated heavyweight champ, Rocky Marciano***
In 1968, the guest referee was former champ Jimmy McLarnin.
**some of the boxers were:  Gary Ferrari, Robbie Grant, Dave Allerdice,
John Carr,  Billy Gray, Ron McEachern, Brian Zelley,
Dick Findlay, Larry Houseman,  Eddie Mullins, George Mankins, Rick Fleck,
Darryl Olson, Fred Fuller, Mike Fisher, Pat O'Reilly, Fred Hatfield, 
Les Vegas and Greg Gumfer.






FUTURE STARS THAT STARTED IN THE SIXTIES
Looking back to the Seventies, brings us back to some of 
the novice or junior tournaments that took place in the
"Sizzling Sixties".  


1966 BRONZE GLOVES
*A tournament for novice junior boxers, but for
many, they did not stay juniors or novices.  Some
would make a difference in the Seventies and beyond.
From the list of champions and finalists, how many
remember the following boxers that would carry
on in future years:
Michael O'Reilly, Gary Bridal, Ian Harding, and Gary Trainor.


1968 SILVER GLOVES
For novice senior boxers and juniors that would produce a few
name for the future years:
Michael O'Reilly, Eddie McCaffrey, David Ius, Chris Ius, 
Les Hamilton, Neil Austin, John Gamble, Joe Cooke, 
Lanny Thom, Gordie Lawson, Ron Trainor, and Buzz Montour.


Results from the May 1985 "BC Amateur Boxing News"
(this was part of a detailed look at boxing in the Sixties)


Champions and Finalists: 1968 Silver Gloves


Neil Austin and Joe Cooke


Michael O'Reilly, Eddie McCaffrey, Johnny McCluskey, 
Ian Pye,  Billy Berrow,  Matthew Cardell,  Cedric Hamilton,
David Ius, John Young, Chis Ius, Happy Seignor, Wayne
Gordon,  Les Hamilton,  Mark Millman,  Dave Swartz, 
Chuck Massey, Neil Austin, Perry Demosten, John Gamble,
Rick Johnson, Joe Cooke, Lanny Thom, Darryl Wood, 
Jim Crook, Paul DiBenneditto, Bob Scharff, Tony James,
Don Fraser, Joe Shannon, Alf Cool, Ian Hunter, 
Danny Gontas, Gordie Lawson, Wayne Tickell,
Ron Trainor, Darryl Smith, Dave Darin, Ian MacLeod,
Buzz Montour, Bob Lewis, Art Gourley, Darryl Wright,
Darryl Olsen, and Howard Hewitt.


LANNY THOM






Boxer Michael O'Reilly would carry on with the Hastings 
Community Centre Boxing Club and engage in Golden Gloves
activity in the Seventies, but in the Eighties he was a coach for
the famous old Hastings boxing club that began many years
before when Pat O'Reilly sr. was the founder and head coach
with the club.  For many years during the Golden Age, there
would be many fine boxers that participated in club activities.







THE PARADE OF BOXING CLUBS AND REGIONS  (1939 to 1968)
In the Forties there were numerous boxing clubs from 
such places as Ocean Falls to Vancouver Island with 
some outstanding clubs being:
*Ambassadors, Bluebirds,  C. Y. O., Eagletime, Jr. G., Kimount, 
University of British Columbia, Wallaces, and Western Sports Centre. 


As the years rolled by there would be many other clubs in Greater 
Vancouver and other locations some that were theew in the
fifties and/or Sixties included:
*North Burnaby, South Hill, Hastings Community Centre,
 London Boxing Club, Newcastle Boxing Club, 
Port Alberni Boxing Club, James Bay, Ladner, Langley,
Spruce Capital, Firefighters Boxing Club, North West Eagles,
the MSA club and Surrey Boxing Club.  Then there were
clubs of the Army, Royal Roads, Royal,  Canadian Navy
and other clubs in places such as 100 Mile House and
Richmond.


Each club has a history that starts with a founder or founders,
one or more coaches and trainers and an assortment of trainees
and volunteers. 


Vancouver Island, The Fifties: 


(reprint from a 1984 review of Island boxing history
as published in the "BC Amateur Boxing News"
Some names to remember from the Fifties:
Andy Patterson, Nick Lystar and Al Duval commissioners of '54, 
Bert Wilkinson, 1954 Vancouver Island Golden Boy.


Nanaimo's Newcastle Boxing Club:


Founded by George Nepper in 1963 with the first club
located in the basement of the Newcastle Hotel.



The Newcastle Boxing Club along with former members of the Vancouver
Firefighters would also play a role in the early years of the Nanaimo Boxing
club that was formed in 1971 and is still active with Barry Creswell as the
main coach of the club.  Former member of the Newcastle boxing club,
Brian Zelley would join with Dan Wright who was a former member
of the Firefighters to form the club with the help of  George Nepper
and John Ormandy.  

HASTINGS COMMUNITY CENTRE BOXING


VANCOUVER'S SOUTH HILL and FIREFIGHTERS:
                        Roger Adolph and alumni of the clubs
                                 South Hill and Firefighters

EAST VANCOUVER OPTIMISTS
*One of the top clubs in the Sixties was the South-East based
 the East Vancouver Optimists with a variety of  builders and boxers
Don Cowan, Larry Krangle, John Wylie, Fred fuller, Stan Smith (some builders)




   THE EAST VANCOUVER OPTIMISTS BOXING BONANZA
                the three boxers at the back to the right are:
          Freddy Fuller, Jimmy MacMillan and Steve Tohill
           Two of the adults are Stan Smith and Fred Fuller



1968 A CLUB SHOW TO REMEMBER

THE ROAD FORWARD - 1969

Some of the boxers that participated in the 1966 Bronze Gloves
and/or the 1968 Silver Gloves would compete in the
1969 Junior open Emerald Gloves.  A sample of names
of some of the boxers include:

Leo Randolph, Happy Seignor, Les Hamilton,  John Gamble,
John Demosten, Randy Hamer-Jackson, Ron Taylor, 
Craig Sequin, Gary Tatton, Corky Hamilton, Ron Way,
Danny Crawford, Phil Ethier, Gene Tait, Danny Tatton,
and Dave Way.


Both LEO RANDOLPH of Tacoma and LES HAMILTON
would go on to participate in the Olympic Games in the '70's




*  Likely the most important event that has kept a continuous link from 
1939 to 1968 was the Golden Gloves that started in 1939 with an important
role played by William J. Finlay of the Vancouver Sun.  There would be
many other tournaments from Bronze Gloves to Diamond Belt tournaments
but none would have the impact of the Golden Gloves.  And, an important
achievement for golden gloves' boxers was to engage in the four key 
tournaments in the Pacific Northwest:
Oregon Golden Gloves, Seattle Golden Gloves, Tacoma Golden Gloves
and the British Columbia Golden Gloves.  




HALLS OF FAME

Over the decades a number of folks that were
boxers and/or builders in British Columbia 
1939 to 1968
have been recognized in one or more halls of fame.









BC AMATEUR BOXING HALL OF FAME - 2014 Process
*some of the names included in the Golden Age have been nominated
such as William J. Finlay, Jimmy McMillan, Jack Meda, Pat West,
Harry Twist, Bert Wilkinson, Howard Curling, and Dave Wylie.
Also, former  Canadian amateur and pro champion Billy Townsend
who was involved in amateur boxing during the Golden Age is also
a nominee. 

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