Newcastle Past and Present Boxers

I had the pleasure of attending the annual reunion of the Newcastle Past and Present Boxers reunion on Saturday night the 30th July. What a good roll up and night it was. Being in a smaller city is certainly an advantage with local donors for raffles and door prizes and the evening costing just $30 for a great two course meal.

Highlight of the night was the interview with former National and Commonwealth Junior middleweight [Super welterweight, Light Middleweight, take your pick,] Champion Ken Salisbury. Ken always attracted a crowd of his countrymen along to support when he was boxing and the reunion was no different with you will never walk alone being sung as he was introduced. Ken entertained the crowd with some jokes and stories from his career and was well received. Of course the infamous Sydney Opera House battle with Alex Temelkov was shown or at least the last round was. As many will remember it finished in a wild brawl and boxing has not been popular at the opera house since.

It was interesting that not only was ken present but so too the referee of that fight, and himself the holder in years earlier of the same titles as Ken, Charky Ramon plus Freddie Wickes, former National lightweight champion who was trying to break up the fights and looking back on it and hearing Ken and Charky comment was a great laugh.

It had some moments to look back on for me as I was the Chairman of the NSW Governments Advisory Committee at the time and seated with the minister and senior Director of Sport has had to explain the blow up to them while the opera house Manager abused them and me for such a spectacle to happen there.

As said years later it is a real hoot to look back on. Other Champs in attendance were Flyweight king Charlie Brown, Bantamweight titleholder Billy Males, Cruiser weight Champ Simon Patterson, plus top featherweight in his day, Trevor King Willie Leslie and Ken Lonergan who travelled up from Sydney for the night as did former top referee Charlie Lucas. I am sure there were very many other notables there and my apologies for missing them.

Newcastle is still a boxing City and regrettably local promoter Peter Hallett had a promotion on the same night which kept a few away. The night was a tribute to secretary, Ron Grimes and his committee  for the night and a clear message to all ex boxers that these reunions  are function  to rekindle old friendships and meet with former opponents in a relaxed spirit of comradery.

The NSW reunion lunch is held every year on the Saturday after the Melbourne Cup and Melbourne and Brisbane conduct similar lunches and could all do with the support of the industry both past and present, not to mention treating yourself to a great day or night as the case may be.

John McDougall

President ANBF National Body

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