Manor Place Baths Ex-Boxers reunion celebration 66 page programme, 21st April 2018, Walworth Road, SE17, London.
"The Smoke Has Gone, The Memories Stay With Us"
MANOR PLACE BATHS REUNION
3rd May 2018 by Simon Euan-Smith (Boxing News)
The fight fraternity gather to remember a famous venue
FORTY years after Manor Place Baths were demolished, fight people from all over the country gathered in Southwark to recall this famous venue. The event was the brainchild of Essex EBA Chairman Tommy Burling, and a joint venture between Essex and London EBAS. Among those who played a part were Essex Secretary Raymond Lee and LEBA’S Charlie Wright, Bob Cheeseman and Robbie Wilson.
As well as the introductions and awards (medals and certificates for those who had boxed there), there were seven exhibition bouts featuring boys (aged eight to 12) from Newham ABC. “Champions of the future,” MC Steve Holdsworth said. EBA members of the future, too, perhaps?
Leeds President Allan Richardson never boxed at Manor Place but made the trip down and was reunited with old foe Vernon Sollas. The pair met twice, both ending in eighth-round stoppages but whereas Sollas won the first, in February 1975, Richardson got revenge in the return, relieving Sollas of the British featherweight title he had won in his next outing.
Sollas described Richardson as “one of the greatest fighters I ever boxed as a pro,” and it was great to see the mutual respect between these two former opponents. Incidentally, Sollas boxed once at Manor Place, beating South Africa’s Bashew Sibaca in May 1974. He had previously outpointed Sibaca at the Albert Hall, this time a shoulder injury resulted in a sixth-round retirement.
Former IBF super-lightweight champion Terry Marsh was a welcome attendee. He never boxed at Manor Place but was invited to make a couple of presentations. Hastings Chairman Dave Harris brought along former European and British bantamweight champ Johnny Clark. Johnny boxed out of Walworth, but surprisingly appeared at Manor Place only once his last bout, a points win over Italy’s Luigi Tessarin in May 1974. There were hopes of a World title bout but, sadly, he had to retire because of a detached retina.
Johnny was called into the ring together with another fine bantam from the same era, Tony Humm, former Southern Area titlist and currently an active LEBA member. I had the honour of presenting them with their medals and certificates. Steve Holdsworth asked Tony if he’d have liked to have boxed Johnny. “He would have been too good for me,” Tony modestly replied. “You can’t say that!” Johnny said. “We never did it in the
ring, so we can’t know!”
I was delighted to meet former Southern Area super-welter champion Tony Hudson, whom I covered many times in the 70's. “I boxed here eight times, and never got beaten!” Tony said proudly.
Steve Holdsworth is best known as a TV commentator, but in the past, he has been a BN staffer, pro referee, promoter and pro boxer. And he appeared twice at Manor Place, beating Sylvester Gordon on points in 1977 but losing on the scorecards to Billy Jeram in 1978. He had just one more contest after that, a draw with Robbie Robinson in Heathrow and Paddy Sower, who refereed that bout, presented Steve with his medal.
As mentioned, Essex Secretary Raymond Lee was one of the prime movers behind this project and, in a nice gesture, Raymond was called into the ring so that his wife, Teresa, could present him with the medal for his late cousin, George Dormer, who boxed between 1955 and 1961 and appeared at Manor Place in April 1956, beating Robert Meunier on points. And LEBA’S Barbara O’Sullivan, together with son Jamie, were called in to receive Barbara’s late husband Mickey’s certificate from Johnny Clark. Mickey, long-time LEBA Chairman appeared at Manor Place six times, winning four, drawing two.
This is an important point. Obviously, many fighters who appeared at the Baths are no longer with us, the first show there was in 1908. But medals and certificates, where applicable, have been prepared for everyone, so if you have a relative who boxed there, or know of someone who boxed there, or boxed there yourself, do contact either Raymond Lee (email@example.com) or myself.
Congratulations, once again, to everyone whose hard work made the day possible.
Ex-Boxers Associations exist, primarily, to enable ex-boxers to get together and reminisce about their careers. But there’s much more to it than that.
It’s not necessary to have boxed to belong to an Ex-Boxers Association. Anyone who loves the game is welcome. The atmosphere at an EBA meeting really is something special. As is the joy when two former opponents meet sometimes decades after their bout. Outsiders find it hard to understand how two people can share a ring, do their utmost to knock each other out, and become the best of friends afterwards. But it happens, time and again.
And EBAs are not just about reliving the past. Most of them support today’s boxers, pro and amateur and several have instigated trophies, awarded annually to the best boxers in their area. And boxing people are renowned for their generosity. If an ex-boxer has fallen on hard times, his local EBA will do everything they can to help. And many raise money for local charities, or local people in need.
EBAs also support one another. In addition to their monthly meetings, several hold social events meals and the like and these are enhanced when parties from other Associations make the effort to attend.
Every Association needs two things a hard-working committee, to take care of the organisation side, and a solid membership, to attend meetings, buy raffle tickets, and generally give support. Anyone who loves boxing whether they’ve taken part or not is encouraged to join their local EBA, or at any rate come to a meeting and see what goes on. You’ll be made most welcome.
Should you be interested in attending or joining an EBA in your area, please see the following contacts and contact direct for dates and venues for meetings:-
6 St Albans Avenue, Bournemouth, BH8 9EE
16 Barnet Way, Hove, East Sussex, BN3 8BJ
Simon Euan Smith
151 Upper Selsdon Rd, Sanderstead, CR2 0DU
5 Broadhurst Walk, Rainham 5, Hornchurch, Essex, RM13 7HD
Willow Stream, 14 Acre Lane, Three Oaks, Hastings, TN35 4NB
01424 539921 / 07733 220027
5 Apollo Close, Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire, HP18 1AP
21 Millhouse Rd, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP3 8AP
01473 670366 / 07795 346890
29 Lincroft Cresent , Bramley, Leeds, LS13 2JL
22 Hewes Close, Glen Parva, Leicester, LE2 9NU
C/o The Globe, 20 Morning Lane, London, E9 6NA
9 Lakeside, Hadfield, Glossop, Derby, SK13 1HW
01457 868142 / 07912 773779
13 Brooklands Ave, Waterloo, Liverpool 2, Merseyside
Paul Nutting, Bizspace Centre, Planetary Rd, Wolverhampton, WV13 3SW
01902 738000 / 07903 274057
9 Lakeside, Hadfield, Glossop, Derby, SK12 1HW
01457 868142 / 07912 773779
Barton under Needwood
10 Beresford Street, Stoke, Plymouth, PL2 3AJ
6a, 8 Silverfir Court, Glasgow, G5 0LA
19 Elizabeth Street, Castletown, Sunderland, SR5 3BT
0191 548925 / 07948 643995
(To Be Appointed)
46 Quarry Road, Bootle, Liverpool, L20 9LJ