About the Merseyside Former Boxers Association
Members of the Merseyside Former Boxers' Association gather outside the Liverpool Stadium on the eve of its demolition in February 1987
In early 1973, Sydney Dye, who was at that time the boxing correspondent for the Liverpool Echo, commenced interviewing many former Merseyside boxers for a series of articles subsequently published in the paper under the heading of Mersey Boxing Hall of Fame. It soon became apparent that one major theme running through these interviews was the fact that most of these former fighters expressed regret that there was no form of association in being that they could belong to and meet up with former friends and opponents.
Les Radcliffe, himself a former professional fighter, who was then a Liverpool licensee, contacted Sydney Dye and asked him to place a column in the Liverpool Echo asking any former fighters who were interested in forming an ex-boxers’ association to attend at his pub where the proposal could be discussed and followed-up if sufficient support was forthcoming. Around 40 former fighters attended the meeting and the Merseyside Former Boxers’ Association was formed.
Among those who joined the newly formed association at its inception were, Gordon Ashun, Jim Boyd, Billy Barton, Tom Bailey, Frankie Brown, Tommy Burney, Johnny Cooke, DickieDownes, Billy Ellaway, Gus Foran, Jackie Mallon, Brian McCaffrey, Mick McCaffrey, Ernie Ormrod, Alf Gidman, Dom and Vincent Volante, Ernie Roderick and Billy Watt.
A number of former fighters from the Wirral also attended, including Leo Molloy and Les McAteer, and such was the interest that it was obvious that there was sufficient support for a separate association. Subsequently, in April l974 the Wirral exBoxers’ Association was formed, under the chairmanship of former British champion Wally Thom. Many of the Merseyside and Wirral members are members of both associations, and there has always been a close liaison between them.
In 2006 the Merseyside and Wirral former boxers’ associations were awarded Heritage Lottery Funding to enable them to compile a Boxing Archive of Merseyside.The project was a great success, over 50 oral interviews with former boxers were recorded and hundreds of boxing related images were scanned: also, a large collection of boxing memorabilia and artefacts were collected by the associations. Much of our collection will be on display at the new Liverpool Museum when it opens in July 2011.
Messages will be received by association secretary Jim Jenkinson.