"Digger" Evans

Name Digger Evans
Real Name Albert Evans
Nickname Digger
Place Of Birth Cobar NSW
Date of Birth 1895-06-26
Titles Australian Flyweight

Record won 17 (KO 4) + lost 18 (KO 10) + drawn 1 = 36 rounds boxed 387 KO% 11.11

Stadium Span 1920 -1924
Career Span Retired 1925

Fights At Stadium

Digger Evans pts 20 Jackie Green 07 Feb 1920

Digger Evans pts 20 Silvano Jamito 28 Feb 1920

Sid Godfrey ko 2 Digger Evans 20 Mar 1920

Digger Evans pts 20 Silvano Jamito 03 Apr 1920

Digger Evans pts 20 Rug Macario 02 May 1920

Joe Symonds ko 8 Digger Evans 22 May 1920

Jerry Sullivan pts 20 Digger Evans 19 Jun 1920

Digger Evans ko 12 Andre Dupres 29 Jan 1921

Digger Evans pts 15 Jimmy Ryan 14 Apr 1923

Digger Evans pts 20 Jimmy Summers 14 Jul 1923

Digger Evans pts 20 Jock Niven 24 May 1924

Billy Grime ko 5 Digger Evans 14 Jun 1924


· Over 200 fights in the UK

· Lost controversial points decision to Jimmy Wilde at an inter-services tournament in the Albert Hall in 1919.

· Unknown as a fighter before he enlisted in the A.I.F.

· When Bill Dibley called on one of the soldiers to box an exhibition with him at Liverpool camp, Digger, then known as Moses Evans, belted him around the ring.

· First fight on returning to Sydney was against Jackie Green.

Report of his fight against Jimmy Wilde

Probably the most publicised bout of the Empire series was Digger Evans (A.I.F.) - Jimmy Wilde scrap in the inter-Allies tournament at the Albert Hall, London in 1919 it was in 1918). Wilde was the world’s flyweight champion.

Evans, a native of Cobar, was unknown in boxing prior to World War 1. He was discovered in an A.I.F. division tournament. Evans, a boxing will-o’-the-wisp, made every use of the ring. He jabbed, held artistically and ran. Wilde made the pace, led all the time with a flurry of punches.

At the end of the third round a vocal Australian mob reared in Stentorian tones during the minutes spell. Welsh battalions sang national airs. In an electric final round, Wilde threw hundreds of punches in a jungle display.

The Australian troops chanted “Dig,” “Dig,” “Dig,” as the M.C. collected the judges’ cards. When the verdict was announced, the Australian barrackers reached tops in noise and invectives. Wilde told me (who’s me?) several days after the fight he was amazed at the hostile demonstration. He formed the opinion he had won rather comfortably.

Last week Evans recalled that hectic night. He has mellowed with the years and now admits he was shaded, that Wilde was a bit up on him.

The following is an article written by referee Joe Wallis in a series of articles written pre 1939

One of the most romantic figures in the Australian boxing era which I am surveying in these articles was “Digger” Albert Evans. He was romantic because he burst from the clouds upon boxing in the World War of 1914-1918. Had it not been for the War, possibly “Digger” Evans would have been born to blush unseen and waste his ability as a boxer on the desert air of oblivion. He would never have been known. The war gave him his opportunity.

In the ranks of the Allied armies he was plain “Digger.” Then like a meteor he that shot across the sky, the name of “Digger” Evans was flashed from one end of the world to the other, emblazoning the head-lines of every daily newspaper with his amazing exploits as a boxer.

He was first heard of when he won the bantam championship of the Allied Armies at the Pershing Stadium in France, and a little later in 1918[1], he was the hero of a thrilling contest with world flyweight champion Jimmy Wilde at the Albert Hall in London.

Although the decision was given against Evans it was the unanimous opinion of the critics that he won. The story of the fight and of his rise to fame was featured in nearly every newspaper in the British Empire.

Mr. Charlie Lucas, who was in those days a clever, astute and energetic manager of boxers, heard of Evans, and took a run out to the camp at Sutton Veney, where the soldiers were engaging in light skirmishes with the boxing gloves. Evans immediately caught his eye.

“I say Digger” remarked Lucas, “Where do you come from?” “Cobar,” replied Evans. “And where did you learn your boxing?” he was next asked. “It just came to me” was his reply. “Well you had better come with me,” rejoined Lucas. “I think we can make a world beater out of you.” So Evans joined Lucas.

Evans was not long in justifying his manager’s opinion, and, when the time came for his re-turn to Australia on the troopship, Lucas decided to accompany him. Before the troopship ar-rived at Freemantle Lucas sent a wireless message to Jack Munro, suggesting that Evans should fight Jackie Green. The match was made. Green came from a fighting family. His un-cle the late Teddy Green, was bantam champion of Australia in the days when Charlie Camp-bell ran the old Gaiety. Teddy took over his nephew, and nursed him until he won the featherweight championship of Australia.
Lucas took his boxer out to Sir Joseph Banks Hotel, Botany, the rendezvous of many famous boxers. Public imagination was so fired that 20 to thirty car loads of people were seen to be arriving every afternoon to observe the “Digger” in his work outs.

Green train
ed at the Stadium and had as his main sparring partner his brother Theo. I think Theo would have made history for the family had he not been a martyr to rheumatism.

Well, the great night arrived. The Stadium was packed. Everywhere one looked was khaki. There must have been 5000 diggers among the vast crowd. It was such a night only to be re-peated later by the Criqui - Godfrey sensation.

When the Digger made his entrance down the passageway that historic night the applause was deafening. The Diggers rose to him as one man. They all seemed to know him. He was their pal. Green also met with thunderous applause. It was a mighty battle, in which the fortunes of each combatant swayed first from one, then to the other. First Evans, then Green took the lead.

Green found “Digger” Evans an awkward boxer. For the latter was a southpaw - the technical term for an unorthodox boxer. A southpaw is a “left hander.” That is, with his right arm and right foot forward. The “Digger’s” left hand was 4½ inches shorter than his right, which he kept popping straight out. His short left worked to the jaw and the body. The pace they set was remarkable, and few onlookers ever thought the fight would go the full distance of twenty rounds. But it did. In the last round Green tried frantically for a knock-out, but he could not land the decisive blow, and the “Digger,” was given my decision.

A sensation arose over the weights in connection with the fight. Green’s party wanted a for-feit of £200, but it was ultimately agreed to fix the amount at £50, should either man come in over the stipulated limit. Since Charlie Lucas came in for a withering attack at the time, it may be as well for him to complete this story in his own words.

When Evans fou
ght Jimmy Wilde he explains, he was 8.4½. But when he landed in Australia, after nine weeks aboard a troopship his weight was 8.12. It was reckoned that, after a period of intensive training at Botany, Evans would reduce weight, but to the astonishment of every-body, Evans put on more weight, due no doubt to his return to normal conditions of living. On the night of the fight he came in at 8.12½ or six pounds over the limit. A long argument ensued in the dressing room, but it was agreed to forfeit the £50 and proceed with the fight. Thereafter, Evans always fought as a featherweight.

The nasty recriminations that arose over this weight question need not be enlarged upon here, but it is sufficient to add that year, when Evans defeated Green, was “Digger’s” greatest. Twice he outpointed Salvino Jamito, he defeated Pug Macario, Teddy Uren, Havilah Uren, and Jack Jannese. He retired from the ring in 1925.

[1] The following details are taken from Soldiers and Sportsmen published by the AIF Sports Control Board in 1919.

British Empire and American Services Boxing tournament at the Royal Albert Hall, London, 11 and 12 Dec 1918. The tournament was promoted by the Imperial Services Boxing Association.

Amongst the boxers were Private Art Tierney, 4th Battalion (welterweight) and Private A.Evans (Digger Evans), A.S.C. (bantamweight).They did not win a single final, although they scored fairly well in the opening bouts.

The bantamweight representative was Digger Evans, the hero of many good fights in France. In the second round he met Jimmy Wilde[1], (Sgt. Instructor), of the British Army. Wilde won a controversial point's decision. In the final, Wilde was beaten on points by Pal Moore, of the US Navy.

Main points from an interview given by Digger Evans to J.M. Rohan

· A bunch of young fellows from Cobar NSW enlisted in the AIF. One of them a bantam who wore a perpetual smile. Fought more than a hundred fights before he got out of khaki.

· He wanted to be a boxer from the age of seven.

· Broke his left arm at 7, (fell out of a tree)11 (football) and 14 (football). Had three inches of bone taken from it, which turned him into a southpaw.

· His father died when he was a baby. Became a blacksmith to help the family.

· His mother wouldn’t allow him to box.

· His first ring fight was at Dubbo camp. Fought a preliminary fight to Silver Jackson and Paddy Regan.

· Won a boxing tournament on the troopship to England.

· Had 45 fights at Larkhill Camp, Salisbury Plains, without defeat.

· Transferred to Sutton Veny camp, had several more fights without loss.

· Charlie Lucas appeared on the scene and issued a challenge on behalf of a Billy Murray to fight him six rounds. Billy Murray turned out to be Billy Eugene, a Sydney featherweight.

· Went to Bristol to fight in the Inter-Army Championships Of The Southern Command. He was asked to fight as a featherweight as the AIF team included a bantam.

· Charlie Lucas was in charge of the AIF team.

· Transferred to Aldershot and had a few fights there. Sid Burns was also at the camp.

· He became tired of boxing and made an application to go to France. Instead he was ordered to London to fight in the American and British Tournament at the National Sporting Club. Won the bantamweight championship.

· Went with Lucas to Hurlcott to fight in the Australian and New Zealand Tournament.

· The tournament was finished in one day. To win the bantamweight championship he had to win six fights.

· Fought Jimmy Wilde for the King’s Trophy at the Albert Hall. The King and Duke of Windsor were present.

· Charlie Lucas interested C.B. Cochran, a theatrical manager and promoter in his record, and Cochran offered in the event of him getting a decision, a guarantee of £5000 win, lose, or draw, for a 20 round fight with Jimmy Wilde.

· Against Wilde, Evans had a weight advantage of 14lb.

· At the time of the fight he was feather and bantamweight champion of the AIF, featherweight champion Southern Command, bantam and featherweight champion of the British Empire and American Forces Tournament.

· Sparred with Arthur Cripps at Norbury.

The following articles are taken from “Digger” Evans life story as told to J. M. Rohan in a series of newspaper articles.

Evans The Digger With the “Wingy Arm”

A batch of young fellows from Cobar, NSW, enlisted in the A.I.F. to fight for King and country. One of them was a bantam who wore a perpetual smile.

This lad was destined to do more fighting than the average soldier; in fact, he fought more than a hundred fights before he got out of khaki.

“Digger” Evans won tourneys against representatives of Great Britain and allied nations.

Early ambitions of many lads are never realised, but mine were. From the age of seven I wanted to become a boxer. I fell from a tree when birdnesting and had my left arm broken and my first remark was that I hoped my arm would mend so that I could straight left my schoolmates. It was an unlucky arm, my left, as it was broken three time altogether, twice playing football at 11 and 14, and as a result three inches of bone were taken from it, leaving me with a “wingy” arm.

My accident turned me into a southpaw.

My dad died when I was a baby, so I had to go out early in life to help the family. A flyweight, I took to blacksmithing in my home town. Can you imagine me - a flyweight - swinging the big hammer? It made me tough.

My workmate, Don Nicholson, was a fight fan. He went to Sydney to see the final of the

Olympia £600 tourney, won by Fred Kay. On his return he sparred with me and told me I

would develop into another Fred Kay, as I used my right hand in a similar fashion.

I might mention that the only experience I had, had to this time was a few spars at Rudges Hotel Cobar, where the well known country fighter Dick Peterson used to give the winner of a spar threepence. I f I collected a black eye, or a bleeding nose, I told my mother I was bowled over playing football.

My mother tried hard to get me to give up football; she said it was too rough. Had she known I was fighting there would have been ructions.

Put Them Under The Copper

One day, I bought home a pair of boxing gloves with the idea of educating my mother to the sight of them, but I had the misfortune to break the nose of the nipper I was sparring with and mother was so upset she put them under the copper. I tried to reason with her and told her I felt that fighting was the game out of which I would make enough money to buy her a home.

“I hope no son of mine will ever have to fight to keep a roof over my head;” was her retort.

Mother stood like a brick wall between me and my ambition, but I got my chance when the war broke out.

George Chip and Art Magirl who came to the camp to entertain the troops. The referee asked if any bantam in the crowd would come forward and take a glove with Billy Dibley an old-timer. I accepted the invitation. After a few rounds Dibley asked me my name and when I told him he declared I was a ring-in.

My record before embarking for the war was not as you will agree an imposing one. I look back now and wonder how I got so far as I did - me with my “wingy,” arm and weighing no more than 7 stone 10.

The Lieutenant’s “soft-soap”

A BOXING tourney was arranged on the troopship going over and Lieut. ”Darky” Smith with a bit of “soft-soap” got round all the Cobar boys to enter. “If you enter, I will,” he would say to each fellow he approached. When we found his name missing from the entries, we reckoned we had been tricked. It appears it was against army regulations for officers to fight with the men. “Darky” knew this of course and he had the laugh on us.

Four wins put me into the final of the bantam division and I defeated my opponent, a 13th Battalion boy named Totten, who was killed in France. My trainer for the tourney, “Smiling Jim Budge,” was also killed.

At the Larkhill Camp Salisbury Plains, I was sparring one evening with a mate when Sergeant “Snowy” Brigden (Sgt-Cook of the Battalion) came along, asked a few questions and put a proposition to me. he would make me cook’s offsider if I would go into training under him. I readily accepted. Barbering potatoes, chopping up melons with an axe, and issuing coffee and rum was the kind of soldiering that would get on the average fellows nerves, but it kept me out of parade ground work and I was quite happy.

It was then that Charlie Lucas, promoter and matchmaker came into the picture. He issued a challenge on behalf of a Billy Murray, 9st, to fight me six rounds. Murray looked a likely sort. The fact that I was to give away 9lb didn’t worry me, as I had often given away more, but I found my opponent a handful as the fight wore on. When I went to my corner at the end of the fifth round I asked Brigden if he had any idea who the other fellow was. “It’s Billy Eugene, a Sydney featherweight,” he answered.

As we shook hands before the last round I said “Say, Sonny as Billy Murray you’re not worth a cracker, now let’s see what you can do as Billy Eugene.”

I landed the bets for my supporters, who would not have wagered so heavily had they known Eugene’s record.

Chosen for Inter-Army Titles

My fight with Eugene won me selection to go to Bristol to fight in the Inter-Army championships of the Southern Command. When we got there I was asked to fight in the featherweight division as the A.I.F. team included a bantam, while they had no featherweight representative. I had to do as I was told.

Charlie Lucas was in charge of the AIF team, and said he would look after me.

When I had fought my way through to the final, I found that my opponent was Corporal Hinchcliffe, the light-weight champion of the Southern Command. Lucas roared like a lion, and demanded that Hinchcliffe be put on the scales.

There was quit a scene over it. Hinchcliffe weighed 9st 6lb.

After much argument I allowed Lucas to let the fight go on. We boxed four rounds, and the judges ordered another two rounds. The extra rounds having been completed, he got the decision, in spite of the fact that he never landed a punch.

Australian With A Punch

At Aldershot I had a few fights. The well-known English welterweight Sid Burns, who fought Johnny Summers, Matt Wells and others in Australia was there delivering rations and blankets for the Australian detachment of boxers. In the Australian team at Aldershot was heavyweight, Billy Teale. I think he would have been a champion had he not been stricken down with appendicitis. He could bowl opponents over in quick time with one of the best wallops I’ve seen. to Australia, won a few tourneys and was runner up to Colin Bell in another, after having Bell down for nine sec-onds on two occasions. In the Aldershot heavy-weight division Teale met Joe Beckett and had him down a few times before Beckett won the decision.

I had had so much of boxing, I was getting a bit tired of it, so I made an application to go across to France, but in-stead I was told to go to London to fight in the American and British Empire tourney at the National Sporting Club. The late Mr Douglas, fa-ther of the famous crick-eter , refereed the bout in which I won the ban-tamweight champion-ship.

One month later, I won the featherweight ti-tle and was presented with medals by the late Mr Peggy B……I recall Charlie Lucas saying, “Well Digger, you’re fighting like a champion and not even getting peanuts, but it wont al-ways be that way.

I had to serv
e further apprenticeship in the camps. I was detailed with Lucas to go to Hurlcott to fight in the Australian and New Zea-land tourney. That was a hurry-up affair if you like. The tourney was finished in one day. To gain the bantamweight championship I had to win six fights; and when I complained of its being a big days work, Lucas said, “Never Mind, Dig-ger, you’re a stayer.”

Rafferty’s rules prevailed in some tournaments. At the time of which I write, Billy Eugene and I were both being looked after by Charlie Lucas. In one tournament I won four bouts to get into the final. Eugene won three fights but could not go on because of a cut eye.
I asked to be allowed to take his place. The request was agreed to and I won to get Eugene into the final with me. The final was an exhibition spar. The referee asked Charlie Lucas which one he wanted to win
. Charlie told him to please himself.

The armistice signed, Lucas took me to London, seeking professional fights.

£5000 For A Win Over Jimmy Wilde

COUNTLESS victories in army fights won for “Digger” Evans the honor of meeting the world famed Jimmy Wilde while the little Welsh wizard sat on the highest pedestal of pugilism.

The present King, the Duke of Windsor and thousands of fans cheered the boys on in a whirlwind bout, which the majority thought Evans won.

When it was
known that I was to fight Jimmy Wilde in the bantam division of the King’s Trophy at the Albert Hall, London, in 1919, a three round affair, I was asked if I feared the greatest little fighting machine the world has known, I laughed. What was there to fear? It was a privilege to meet Wilde. Opponents had to be in the first flight before being considered for matches with him. And looked at in that light, I suppose I should have felt honoured.

Few knew the incentive I had to win that bout. Charlie Lucas interested Mr C. B. Cochran, theatrical manager and promoter, in my record, and Mr Cochran offered in the event of my getting the decision, to guarantee me £5000 win, lose, or draw, for a 20 round fight with Wilde.
I knew that I would have a weight advantage of at least 14lb, and I set about fitting myself for the bout as I had not done for previous contests. Charlie Lucas arranged for a few ten rounders for me.

Planned To go Flat Out

At that time I was bantam and featherweight champion of the A.I.F., featherweight champion of the Southern Command, and bantam and featherweight champion of the British Empire and American Tourney held at the National Sporting Club, London.

Mr “Peggy” Bettinson was evidently so pleased with my efforts at his famous club that he arranged matches for me. In turn, I defeated Stoker McMorris and Tommy Spearman, and I got into good trim when I went to Norbury to spar with Arthur Cripps

I anticipated that Wilde would pepper me with straight lefts; but I had taken hun-dreds of punches for medals and I could take a good deal more for the chance of crowding Wilde out of a decision that would earn me £5000.

It must not be thought, however, that I was underestimating the little Welshman. What I mean to convey is that I intended to take every advantage of the poundage I had in my favor. I was extremely happy that it wasn’t the other way about.

With my southpaw stance I expected to have Wilde wondering for half a round un-til he sized me up. My condition was good and three rounds was not far to go, and so I planned to set the pace and go flat out all the way.

Wilde evidently figured on making an early start, as he whacked me a beauty on the nose that made me see stars. The claret started to flow. The Mighty Atom hit with terrific force. I went for him after that first punch and didn’t allow him to get set for another.

It was a sizzling affair. We unleashed more punches than are usually thrown in a short bout.
The pace was on from start to finish and it had the packed hall thrilled with excite-ment. The cheering was deafening. In be-tween rounds I could not hear what my seconds were saying.
There was quite a demonstration when the referee gave the decision to Wilde. Some people evidently did not agree with it.

I felt quite satisfied that I had made a good scrap of it with the world’s premier midget. Naturally I was sorry the decision went against me, but my disappointment was short lived.

Referees Were Changed

The American team for the King’s Trophy contests was a very strong one and included that great fighter Mike O’Dowd, and also Harry Greb, Augie Ratner, Ritchie Mitchell, bantam Joe Lynch and Pal Moore, another of the bantam brigade.

After my fight with Jimmy Wilde, the Americans objected to the referees. (the next part of the text is missing, but the referees were change and in the final, the referee gave the decision to the American Pal Moore over Jimmy Wilde). My opinion was that Wilde won every round.
Thus Moore received the Cochran £5000 for a match against Wilde that could easily have been mine.

So much has been written about Wilde that every fight fan must be well ac-quainted with him. I can vouch for all that has been said of him. He had everything but weight. He fought whoever his man-ager matched him against. Jimmy’s motto was, “Any weight, anywhere, any time.”
Wilde was only once asked to make a weight. When matched to fight Dick Heas-man, an English flyweight, Jimmy was un-der a £500 forfeit to make 7.4. Some of Jimmy’s friends feared he would be unable to do it, but Jimmy hopped on the scales in his singlet and weighed 7½ stone.
A few months later he was matched against Joe Conn, featherweight champion of Europe and Lonsdale belt holder. Conn’s manager insisted on weighing-in at 2 p.m. Which meant that at ringside Conn would be every ounce of 9.4.it took Wilde two rounds to dispose of Heasman and 12 to put Conn down and out. And it was right on top of those per-formances that the little Welsh wizard spilt the blood of yours truly.

After the Army championship competi-tors, their trainers, the organisers and dis-tinguished officers were invited to a dinner at the Savoy Hotel, at which the main topic of conversation seemed to be the final of the bantamweight championships.

Reversed Decision

One speaker said that the hardest punch of all in a fight was to hear the decision going to the other fellow. All eyes were turned on Jimmy Wilde. Jimmy smiled and said that he felt sure that Pal Moore would give him a chance to reverse the decision later. They met in America and Wilde outpointed his Army opponent with ease.

The present King handed each competi-tor a certificate to mark the occasion of the big military tournament at the Albert Hall.

When I took my bow to him he asked me how I managed to keep smiling throughout a hectic bout. (next part of text is missing. but this an account of his fight with Mike Blake)

Jimmy Wilde asked Evans, “how do you think you’d stand up to a man who did eve-rything but bite?” asked Wilde, who went on to say that English promoters liked to try every bantam, and quite a number of featherweights out with Blake. “You’ll get hurt whether you win or lose.” He added.

Wilde’s prediction came true. After fighting a fifteen round draw with Chris Langdon at the National Sporting Club, Mr Bettinson asked me if I would fight Blake. I agreed as I knew there would be a nice cheque from it.

I found Blake the roughest customer I’ve ever met in a ring.

He bumped, butted, thumped. I burst out laughing at his audacity. I tried to advise him to cut out the rough stuff which would not be appreciated by the short fronted gentry, but my reward was another butt on the chin.

Nearly Put Out For Laughing

As Mike came in with his head down, I let go an uppercut, which caught him flush on the jaw and sent him back on his heels.

I laughed and the late Mr Douglas, who was referee threatened to put me out of the ring for it.
At the National Sporting Club, the refe-ree is outside the ring, and I don’t think Mr Douglas saw what Mike was doing to me in close.

Actually, I had nothing to laugh about, as Mike was hurting me as I had never been hurt before, but his style was so funny.

Mike was a Cockney who trimmed all the bantams. Once they sent for him to spar with Wilde, but when handed big gloves while Jimmy had small ones, Mike objected and left the gymnasium, saying, “When anyone has to be hurt with gloves, it’s got to be the other bloke.”

Mike won our bout. When he met me the next day he said, “Digger, If I visit Austra-lia you’ll have to take me home to meet your people. I’m a nice little chap.”

He was a real tornado and fought like a wildcat. The rules he observed could not by any stretch of the imagination be called Marquis of Queensbury. He was cunning enough to do most of his butting and rough stuff when he had me between him and Mr Douglas.

Some time after my bout with Blake, I met Jimmy Wilde and he inquired how I got on with gentle Mike.

“He didn’t do a thing to which I could take exception,” I answered without a smile.
Wilde looked puzzled and said that Mike must surely have mended his ways.

After knocking out Seaman Williams in three rounds at The Ring, London, I was notified that I had to go to Clerkenwell to fight for the British Empire bantam Cham-pionship. This I won and was presented with a medal by the present Duke of Win-dsor.

With the Armistice signed I wanted to have a few fights for money, but I was still a soldier and the order came for me to go to France to represent Australia in the Al-lied Armies Championship.

Fighting ‘Digger’ Makes A Comeback

The same fighting spirit shown by “Digger” Evans in the A.I.F. and in his great fights at the Syd-ney Stadium after the war, allowed him to make a comeback after an absence of two years from the ring with an athletic heart. The holiday grated on the nerves of the smiling Evans, who thought nothing more exhilarating than a good scrap.

In this concluding story Evans reviews boxing and tells of the champions he has met and seen. “The importation’s of today cannot rank with those of other days,” he says.

ONE hundred odd fights in the A.I.F., and six fights in the first three months after my return to Australia found me panting for breath with the slightest exertion. My six appearances at the Sydney Stadium were against Jackie Green, Sid Godfrey, Pug Macario, Joe Symonds and twice against Silvano Jamito and it required quite a bit of energy to match the cleverness of those chaps.

My doctor took such a serious view of my condition that he told promoters that it would be dangerous to match me. I had an athletic heart. A short holiday was benefi-cial, and I took the first opportunity of a job so that I would keep in some sort of fet-tle.

For two years I worked at silo building and other jobs until I forgot that I had a heart. I felt fit enough now to pop the ques-tion to promoters and was given a fight with Jimmy Ryan. Charlie Lucas was away in England with George Cook and so I was taken in hand by Pat McHugh. And I think that Pat was the only person other than myself who thought I had a chance of vic-tory.

Licked Three Bantam Champions

IN out-pointing Ryan, I upset one of the good things of the season.

My come-back was a surprise to the manager of the Stadium who straight away matched me Jimmy Semmens, a clever Victorian bantam, Semmens could not adapt himself to my southpaw stance and I won the decision.

That made three bantam champions I had licked - Green, Jannese and Semmens, but I never held the title as on each occa-sion I was over-weight.

My next fight was with Macario Villon, who would have given in, but for his sec-onds who kept him at it. Seeing how things were, I got careless, and was trying to knock him, when he let fly a wild swing from behind his heels. He pegged me on the clothes line like a shirt. At this stage fights were only a side-line with me. I was working at my (text missing)

I retired from boxing with a record that was unusual - I did not win or lose a fight on a foul.
When I look back on my fighting days I always think of the Uren family - three brothers and all fighters above the ordi-nary. I fought Ted and Havilah in New Zealand.

Tommy Uren was in my opinion, one of the best fighters I’ve seen, irrespective of weight. He held the Australian lightweight, welterweight and middleweight titles in an era when great fighters from all parts of the compass were in Australia.

All importations went under to him at some time or other, which is a record to be proud of.

When a welter Uren defeated three of the world’s greatest middleweights - Eddie McGoorty, Jimmy Clabby and Fritz Hol-land - and I doubt if any other welter in the world could have accomplished such a feat. Both Clabby and McGoorty had knock-out victories over Dave Smith, who was heavyweight champion, but Uren was able to stay the distance with them each on at least one occasion, to win points deci-sions.

Beautifully moulded, strong and with a fighting heart, Uren’s footwork was good, while he was the best in-fighter in the game. As a fighter he could be classed as next to the late Les Darcy.
I have told you something of Jimmy Wilde. I have never met a man who timed punches so well as the little Welshman. That was the main factor in his many suc-cesses.

Greater Incentive For Lads Needed

MANY have asked me why boxing has its ups and downs in Australia. The reason sticks out like grandma’s only tooth. Those running the sport are doing nothing to at-tract the lads to don a glove. The promoter who puts on a good tourney with big cash prizes could make the proviso that winners of the various divisions would fight under his banner for a year or so
The winners would not only be recom-pensed for their efforts, but…(text missing) If the men from overseas are good they help to build up the standard here, as the lads who assist them in training must learn something from them. Such men as Jack Johnson, Jimmy Clabby, Jeff Smith, Kid Lewis, Eugene Criqui, and Llew Edwards were responsible for the uplift of the sport to a degree.

This was the boxer’s Mecca, but things have changed. The first class fighters of America cannot be induced to come to Aus-tralia, as they can get dollars where they would only get pennies in this country. The consequence is that we are only getting second, third and fourth rate fighters. From them our boys cannot expect to learn a thing. In fact Jack Carroll, Mickey Miller and a few others could teach the importa-tion’s quite a lot.

My experience is that there is good money in boxing for promoters when there is a boom. The Stadium people nearly cracked their faces laughing at the manner in which the fans turned up to see fights in which I took part, but they cannot take any credit for having discovered me. I was sold to them by a boxing salesman - Charlie Lucas. I was ready-made, the product of many tournaments.

Importation’s Should Be Of Good Standard

IF Stadium managers made their prize worth while they could attract boys from the outback for a Golden Glove Tourney. Boxing fans would watch them climbing the ladder, and would pay homage as they have done down the years to Bill Squires, Bert Spargo, Kid McCoy, Hugh Mehegan, Les Darcy and a host of others.

In my opinion promoters should not en-tertain an importation unless he is hall marked.
Some of the fighters who have shown up from abroad in recent years would not have been allowed to swing a towel at the Stadium 20 years ago.

Well-advertised fighters who fail to de-liver the goods are no good to boxing. The fight game in Australia would have been better off today had we not seen some of the “boomed” matches of the last year or so. Some of the men we have seen couldn’t even be classed as showmen.
Many champions are unearthed by trav-elling boxing booths. Albert Lloyd, George Cook, Mickey Miller, Jackie Green and Billy Grime being a few who have devel-oped their talents in the sawdust.

Whenever a boxing troupe came to Co-bar, my home town, they found dozens of lads waiting to take a glove. When the troupe moved on, the desire for a scrap remained, and scarcely a Sunday morning passed without there being a bare knuckle fight.

The Heart Of A Lion

THE best laugh I got out of a fight was when a pupil of mine was put in the ring as a substitute at short notice. He stopped a right swing with his chin and was sent sprawling. It was the final bout and the band played “God save the King,”soon af-ter he went down I told the lad to get up. “No----fear,”he answered, “I’m sitting this one out.”

For an outstanding ring performance I hand the belt to Harry Greb, of America. On his way to the Albert Hall, where he was to fight for the light-heavyweight championship of America and the British Empire, he was knocked down by a motor car. He had very little skin on him when he arrived at the dressing room; he was shaken badly as well. We all thought he would give his opponent a walk-over, but not he. He insisted on going into the ring and he was a mass of sticking plaster when he climbed through the ropes

His two opponents had reason to regret that the motor car had not made a better job of it’s victim.

Greb fought twice that night and won on each occasion. He made me laugh when he said that motors could hit hard but without direction.

A great fight that sticks in my mind was that between Eugene Criqui and Cabanello Dencio. The Frenchman had a great wal-lop that had toppled many opponents, while Dencio was a great little scrapper, with a record that included a one round victory over Sid Godfrey. Criqui and Den-cio fought like demons.

Criqui looked all in. Odds were bet against him seeing out the distance, and some were making for the exit, when he caught the Manila boy with a right upper-cut. It was a punch similar to the one with which he knocked me out in Paris, and it was curtains for Dencio.Criqui won the world title from Johnny Kilbane.

Writing of Criqui reminds me of another great little French fighter - Charles Le-doux. But when I saw Ledoux he was op-posed to the best featherweight I’ve seen - Jimmy Driscoll. Driscoll was making a come-back. He gave masterly exhibition until his strength gave out. He had not the strength to stand up to a Ledoux battery and fell over from sheer exhaustion.
American Mike O’Dowd was a great middleweight I saw in action. He defeated Bombardier Billy Wells and other heavy-weights. Good judges told me that he would have been a grand match for Darcy. He resembled Darcy in physique and fight-ing heart.

Of referees I can say much in little. Abroad I fought under Eugene Corri, the late Mr Douglas and Alf Bridges. In Aus-tralia the third man was either Joe Wallis, ValQuirk, Tim Tracey, “Dowder” Wardell or E. Elliot. I accepted their decisions without demur, even though they didn’t fa-vor me. They were all fine referees.

I would like to be starting out on my boxing career again, and I would not ask for a better break than I got as a fighter. I have thrown off all effects of an athletic heart, and can do a hard day’s work and like it. I have taken no ill effects with me from the ring and still maintain my grin.
The boys who use their heads and feet, as well as their hands in boxing have the chance of enjoying later days as I am do-ing.

Copyright Mike Hitchen, Lane Cove, NSW, Australia. All rights reserved