Dave Charnley former British, Commonwealth and European lightweight champion SIGNED and DATED 4/4/61, HANDWRITTEN letter plus original 8" x 5 3/4" black & white Daily Mirror copyright press photo. The letter reads:
Thank you for the letter and good wishes, please find enclosed a photo which I hope will be alright.
Condition very good (letter has horizontal envelope fold)
Dave Charnley (born October 10, 1935 in Dartford, England) considered to be one of the greatest British fighters in his weight class. Known as The Dartford Destroyer the left-handed Charnley had a 10 year career lasting from 1954 to 1964.
He won bronze in the 1954 Commonwealth Games in Vancouver, Canada and went on to become:
• Undefeated British Lightweight Champion (1957-63)
• Commonwealth Lightweight Champion (1959-62) and
• European Lightweight Boxing Champion (1960-61)
World Champion Title Fights
Charnley made two unsuccessful World title challenges against his arch-rival Joe 'Old Bones' Brown. He was stopped by Brown on a cut eye in Houston, Texas, in 1959 and was narrowly out-pointed in a controversial 15 round bout in London on 18 April 1961. Ring Magazine called this second bout "Fight of the Year." Many say Charnley should have won.
The decision is still contested by Charnley and most British writers. He eventually defeated Brown in six rounds in a non-title fight in Manchester on 25 February 1963.
Early Life and Career
Before he became a boxer, Charnley worked at Vickers Engineering Crayford as a boilermaker. He began pro-boxing on 19 October 1954 and his strong punching won him the 1954 A.B.A. Featherweight championship. He turned professional the same year.
He became British Lightweight Champion at 21 by out pointing Joe Lucy, another south paw, on the 9 April 1957, but in his first attempt later that year to win the Empire title on the 9 July he was beaten on points by the brilliant South African, Willie Towel. In 1958 he met future World champion, Puerto Rican Carlos Ortiz at Harringay Arena where he lost on a 10 round decision.
In a return match against Willie Towel on the 12 May 1959, Dave Charnley punched with such authority that the championship changed hands in the 10th round, when Dave won by a knockout. Dave challenged for the World Title at Houston, Texas on 2 December 1959, against Joe Brown but was forced to retire in the fifth round with a badly damaged eye. He fought Brown again, this time in London on the 18 April 1961, and lost a bitterly contested duel that many fans thought he had won. By way of consolation Dave knocked out Brown in six rounds in a third meeting, but only after the American had lost his World title.
Before his second bout with Brown, Dave added the European Lightweight Title to his British and Empire Titles, when he met Mario Vecchiatto of Italy on the 29 March 1960. He forced Vecchiatto to retire in the 10th round.
On 20 November 1961 Dave Charnley met challenger David "Darkie" Hughes of Wales for his third title and stopped the Welshman in 40 seconds, including the count, a record win in the British Lightweight class.
In 1962 Dave went to Jamaica, losing his Empire title on a close point verdict to Bunny Grant, but he won his Lonsdale Belt outright by defeating Maurice Cullen in Manchester on the 20 May 1963. That year he also forfeited his European title. As there were no worthy challengers in the Lightweight division, to continue boxing, it was necessary for Dave to move up to the Welterweight division. He was then game enough to challenge the World Champion, Emile Griffith, but took a bad beating and the fight was stopped in round eight.
Dave retired from the ring in 1964 as unbeaten British Lightweight Champion.
Aggressive Fighting Style
Charnley had a powerful build and large forearms and was often compared to the "Toy Bulldog" Mickey Walker, but he also had good tools. He had double and triple hooks and was a true scrapper with plenty of bottle. His trademark was an aggressive attacking style. Inside the ring he was a furious brawler who gave and took brutal punishment. He fought everyone, even much heavier men and always held his own.
Only Joe Brown stopped him on cuts and until his last fight, only welterweight great Emile Griffiths stopped him from going the distance. Charnley ended his career fighting welterweights and was a really tough opponent for anyone.
After The Ring
When he retired from boxing, Charnley took a completely different direction in his life and for a few years opened and operated hair salons, which became quite profitable for him.
He also moved into building and property refurbishments in which he is still involved. His various business interests have seen him enter old age a very wealthy man.