Yesterday’s Heroes: A tribute to heavyweight Jack Hobbs

The British fighter, as soon as labelled one of many world’s hardest-hitting heavyweights, passes away on the age of 93

BOXING misplaced one in every of its iconic hyperlinks to the Nineteen Fifties London boxing scene this week with the passing of Jack Hobbs of Shepherds Bush. Jack campaigned efficiently at heavyweight for 4 brief years between 1950 and 1954, and he can be remembered by a lot of our older readers.

Jack was an excellent novice within the providers simply after the conflict, and he received the RAF title in 1949 earlier than shedding out to Arthur Worrall within the semi-final of the Inter-Service championships. Being an enormous lad, he was quickly seen, and he was snapped up by supervisor Arthur Boggis to field professionally.   He made his debut at Harringay enviornment, on the evening that Terry Allen received the world flyweight title, when Jack received a heavyweight novice competitors beating all three of his rivals in a complete of 4 rounds. That form of punching energy quickly noticed him in nice demand, and he proceeded to rack up a string of inside-the-distance victories in London rings, a lot of them within the first spherical.

It was at this level, in early 1951, that he had a really dangerous bike accident that just about noticed him lose his leg. He spent over a 12 months in hospital and needed to pay for his personal therapy. He was, nonetheless, decided to renew his ring profession though few thought that seemingly.  

In 1953, nonetheless, he entered the ring once more. Nonetheless solely 22, he carried a limp and he needed to show his talents earlier than Board officers earlier than his licence was reissued. In his comeback contest, at Manor Place Baths, Walworth, in opposition to Hugh Ferns of Edinburgh, he was stopped after solely two minutes with a horrible reduce over his left eye.

Effectively used to adversity by now, Jack didn’t let this setback deter him and he then launched into a run of six wins, with 5 of them being achieved by stoppage. In September 1953, after Jack had stopped Reg Andrews of Deal in solely fifty seconds the BN headline requested if Jack could possibly be “The World’s Hardest Hitting Heavyweight”.  The reporter additionally famous that Hobbs was careless along with his all-out attacking model and that he “needs to be cautious with these borderline smashes. One in every of lately, rightly or wrongly, a referee goes to rule him out and that might be a tragedy, for if anybody appears destined to punch his technique to the world’s title, it’s Jack Hobbs”.  

After two extra victories that prophecy got here true. It was throughout a rematch with Ferns, the one man to beat him, that Hobbs took issues too far, and he was thrown out within the second spherical for a low blow that the reporter thought was respectable, even when the referee didn’t.

In 1954, his remaining 12 months as knowledgeable, Jack beat two Belgians, one after the opposite. He comfortably outpointed Prosper Beck at his dwelling venue, Lime Grove Baths, after which travelled to Leicester to hammer Al Bernard in eight rounds, regardless of having been beneath appreciable stress himself within the fifth. This victory arrange a British heavyweight title eliminator between Jack and Rugby’s Johnny Williams and promoter Jack Solomons shortly matched them in a 10-rounder on the White Metropolis Stadium, with the winner to battle both Jack Gardner or Don Cockell for the title. Sadly, Jack misplaced this, his most vital contest, on cuts and he by no means fought once more.

Jack died on Sunday, September 18, aged 93 years outdated, and I spoke to his son Rod about him. After his profession had ended, Jack stayed within the recreation the place he was the mainstay behind two novice golf equipment, Hammersmith ABC and Southall ABC. Sooner or later a younger lad walked into his gymnasium and Jack noticed one thing in him. The 2 turned associates for all times, and a few years after Jack had obtained him began, the younger lad received an Olympic gold. His title? Chris Finnegan. 

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