Remembering Ernie Vickers – Boxing News


Ernie Vickers was the final particular person with knowledgeable ring document to die in motion

AS November 11 was Armistice Day this week is an acceptable time to replicate on the profession of an excellent skilled who gave his life for his nation. The many boxers who died through the two world wars have been incessantly referenced in BN over the previous 50 or so years, and there have been some wonderful fighters, together with champions, amongst them. The dying of Ernie Vickers of Middlesbrough through the Falklands War is far much less well-known. November 11 is a time to recollect the members of the armed forces who served and died however Ernie was completely different, for he was a Merchant seaman. The Merchant Navy commemorate their useless on September 3, the anniversary of the outbreak of the Second World War, however as Ernie is, so far as I can verify, the final particular person to die in motion who had knowledgeable ring profession. As he died on the Atlantic Conveyor, alongside males from the Royal Fleet Auxiliary and the Royal Navy, I’m going to recollect him as we speak.

Ernie got here from a sporting household. His father was the Army dash champion in 1910 and a brother turned the Yorkshire champion for the quarter-mile. Another brother, Jack, boxed professionally between 1951 and 1956. Born in 1924, Ernie served with the Royal Navy as a teen, serving on HMS Ganges through the latter years of World War Two, and he gained 11 of his 12 beginner contests. In 1949 he turned professional, teaming up with supervisor Eric Munro, who was an excellent boxer himself earlier than the struggle, swapping gloves with the likes of Bobby Magee, Len Beynon and George Marsden. Middlesbrough’s “Mr Boxing” guided his younger cost to 26 victories from his first 27 contests as Vickers fought his means by way of a collection of 4 and 6-rounders on reveals in and round his native North-East. He boxed recurrently on the Engineers’ Club in West Hartlepool, on the Hendon Cricket Ground, Sunderland, and he was, after all, an incredible favorite in his hometown on the Farrer Street Stadium.

To compile such a protracted successful streak was fairly uncommon within the late Forties and Nineteen Fifties, and Ernie regarded like fairly a prospect and he was a famous puncher, with many opponents being knocked spark out. Manchester’s Cyclone Kelly put his run to an finish, outpointing Ernie on the New St James Hall, Newcastle in November 1950. Kelly had been round for donkey’s years at this level, having begun his skilled profession within the late Twenties, and he knew each trick within the e-book.

Another veteran of virtually 20 years, Ginger Roberts of Whitley Bay, was Ernie’s opponent within the greatest contest of Ernie’s profession. The two males met for the Northern Area welterweight title, over 12 rounds, in December 1951 at Vickers’ native stadium at Farrer Street. For Roberts it was the ultimate contest in a 154-bout profession, and he gave it all the things. He was the reigning titleholder, having picked up the title the earlier yr by outpointing Billy Exley, and he was the favorite going into the bout. He couldn’t compete with the youth of his opponent, nor with the rugged, bustling and energetic assaults that Vickers produced all through the 12 rounds and Ernie turned the champion by a transparent margin on the finish of the competition. Within every week of the bout his supervisor was promoting Vickers as obtainable to combat any welterweight in Europe. When Ernie left the sport in 1956, he had gained 39 of his 58 contests in a protracted profession.

It was no shock that he was prepared, at 57, to go midway world wide in Britain’s newest struggle effort, practically 40 years after he had first finished so, and it was a tragedy that he died so removed from dwelling.

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