Memorial for Portsmouth boxers who drew thousands to bouts

Andrew Fairley, the author of Pompey's Boxing Past has joined forces with relatives of several former famous Portsmouth boxers to have a memorial to the fighters put up in Victoria Park.

Friday, 3rd March 2017, 6:00 am
Updated Friday, 24th March 2017, 11:11 am
Victoria Park will become home to a memorial to the glory days of boxing in Portsmouth

The memorial will recognise the history of professional boxing in the city, particularly the period from 1910 to 1960 when the sport’s popularity was at it’s highest.

The area does of course still continue to produce top boxers, such as Leigh Park’s Joel McIntyre, the reigning light-heavyweight champion of England.

The 10 boxers commemorated on the memorial are Harry Andrews, Billy Streets, Arthur ‘Kid’ Connor, David Goldring, Harry Vine, Monty Brown, Stoker Bob Reynolds, Len Lemaux, Matty George and Johnny Smith who, in their time, were huge stars in Portsmouth.

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Matty George with a cauliflower ear

Between them they boxed some of the best in Britain attracting crowds in their thousands. This period was a very important part of Portsmouth’s sporting and cultural history.

The three-quarters of a tonne memorial is being funded by public donations, and the plan is to have it in situ in the park later this year. In light grey granite, the memorial will stand 3-4ft high with the names and photographs of the boxers easy to read.

Andrew said: ‘Any donations towards the cost of the memorial from readers of The News would be gratefully accepted.

‘So far more than 50 per cent of the £4,800 needed has been raised.’

Stoker Bob Reynolds

Donations can be made via justgiving.com/crowdfunding/BoxingMemoriaPortsmouth.

Also, you can send a cheque made out to Andrew Fairley and send it to me here at the News office.

Matty George with a cauliflower ear
Stoker Bob Reynolds