The inaugural Newcastle Sporting Club Ex-Boxers Association began as they mean to go on this past Sunday as Steve Wraith and Peter Mann invited fighters old and new to the Black Bull on Barrack Road for a few hours of sporting nostalgia.
In attendance were that of Paul Lister, Alan Robertson and Paul Hitch who reunited and regaled each other with stories of old, starting out what the Sporting Club set out to do from the off.
Mr Robertson, looking fighting fit in his early sixties, attended with his son Scott, regaled with stories of outings in the seventies and, although he only had ten outings as a professional Alan took in the Civic Hall in Newcastle, London’s Mayfair and, his claim-to-fame, a stunning second round stoppage of future British and European featherweight and super featherweight champion, and WBC World title challenger, Pat Cowdell, in January 1978.
Looking back though the story which sprang to mind the most was his last fight, with Hartlepool’s John Feeney, in Nottingham, in February 1979. He said: “Feeney was a bantamweight and me a featherweight so he was brave to take the fight on.
“However, there were issues surrounding my weight. They had already weight John when I got there and his trainer and manager wanted me to just go do mine (Duff and Mancini) and they claimed I was two pound over. They insisted that I go down into the basement with one of their guys and skip it off for an hour. It was roasting in there and their lad jumped out quick so we blagged it; I think only skipped for ten minutes.
“Mickey (Duff) was happy when I came back up and a few hours later the fight was on. It was an even contest but I ended up doing a Tyson on the ref’s blindside just after our first clinch and, when the decision was announced, Feeney took it by half a point – it could have been a draw more than anything.”
For Steve the first meeting met early expectations and set foundations for more excitement and growth to come throughout 2016. He added: “From little seeds big trees grow and with a good turnout, and apologies from those who couldn’t make, we had a great time.
“We will now look to build on this and continue to bring the boxing community together for this is there for the whole community, not just ex-boxers and we want everyone to be a part of it. It was great to listen to the stories from Paul Lister and Alan Robertson, Paul Hitch and Alan Exley among others.
“We just have to not clash with a match day for, in hindsight, that was only ‘mistake’ made but the Black Bull is an ideal location for it and is a stone’s throw away from where the old St’. James Hall used to be.”
Anyone interested in joining the Newcastle Sporting Club EBA contact Peter Mann via firstname.lastname@example.org or 07596657371; membership is £20pa and their will be numerous benefits available.
You can watch a little snippet of the meet HERE