Fighting Jack Smith set to be added to city’s boxing memorial

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A NEW name could be added to a memorial celebrating great fighters from Portsmouth’s golden era of boxing.

Andrew Fairley, the inspiration behind the granite stone recently unveiled in Guildhall Square, says he’s looking at adding welterweight Jack Smith’s name and picture.

Jack Smith

Jack Smith

It comes after protests from Jack’s granddaughter, Mrs Pat Phillips, of Waterlooville.

She says that she and her family were upset to learn that the roll call of the greatest fighters the city produced in the 1910-1960 era did not include him.

Mr Fairley met her after she wrote to The News voicing her unhappiness. She said: ‘I was deeply saddened that my grandfather was not acknowledged in any light.

‘Jack Smith had 169 professional fights and he was only beaten four times.’

She pointed out that an obituary in the Portsmouth Evening News in February 1963 described him as ‘one of the best boxers ever produced by Portsmouth.’

She added that Jack even managed to keep up his boxing while serving as a sergeant major in the First World War, winning a championship while taking part in the Gallipoli campaign.

‘Myself and my family feel that his achievements should be recognised and that he should have a place on the memorial.

‘I find it difficult to understand why he has been ignored when I believe that his achievements match those already acknowledged in the memorial.’

Mr Fairley said he was pleased that Mrs Phillips had voiced her concerns.

‘I had tried very hard over the last two years to trace Jack’s relatives albeit without success, and I’m delighted she has got in touch,’ he said.

‘Jack boxed through to the mid-1920s when record keeping was very poor, and my research in newspaper archives only provided scant details that did not reveal the full extent of Jack’s career.

‘For boxers of that era it is invariably the families of the boxers who can provide the most information, and as I was unable to trace family members I was somewhat at a loss. While I can say with surety that the family’s statistics of Jack’s career (169 fights with only four losses) are incorrect, Jack was nonetheless a very fine boxer.

‘I have spoken to Mrs Phillips and we will be meeting in due course so I can find out more about Jack’s career.

‘I look forward to adding Jack to our boxing memorial in due course.’