Jack Hassen

Jack Hassen knocks Archie Kemp's head back with a right hand blow in their bout at Rushcutter's Bay Stadium on Sept. 19th, 1949

Watching the Geale-Mundine fight the other night, I began thinking of some of the great Aboriginal boxers of the past.

The first that sprang to mind was not surprisingly, Lionel Rose, although I remember my disappointment when he beat Alan Rudkin! Other names quickly followed; Tony Mundine, Jerome Jerome, Elley Bennett, Wally Carr, the great Dave Sands and his brothers.

One boxer often overlooked, is lightweight Jack Hassen.

I was fortunate enough to have access to footage of his fights. He was darn good, though he lost to a great Mexican boxer - Rudy Cruz. I spoke to Jack while researching the old Sydney Stadium, a really nice gent.

He seemed destined for greatness, but then came the night he fought Archie Kemp

Archie was in trouble - a lot of trouble. Jack asked the referee to stop the fight, the ref ordered him to continue. Joe Wallis was like that. The next day Archie died.

Jack was never the same after that fight, it hit him hard and his boxing career went downhill. It was reported that in the weeks following Archie's tragic death, and receiving threats, Jack lost 71 pounds in weight. Six of his eight defeats came after his fight with Archie.

Jack was an active unionist fighting for the rights of waterside workers with the same zest as at the peak of his career. He passed away 2002. None of the old timers I have spoken to had a bad word to say about him. He was a boxer who talked with the tools of his often cruel trade.

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