LINKS between boxing and horse racing return centuries. In racing’s early days, Newmarket’s movers and shakers had a predilection for pugilism. In 1790, two of Britain’s prime jockeys, Sam Chifney and Dick Goodison, settled a dispute over “soiled using” with a combat for 100 guineas apart on the insistence of their patrons, respectively the Duke of Bedford and the Duke of Queensberry. In 1867, Queensberry’s relative John Douglas, ninth Marquess of Queensberry, would lend the identify to boxing’s most well-known algorithm. Boxing has lengthy been fashionable amongst jockeys and secure workers, a lot in order that by the early twentieth century the annual secure lads’ boxing championship had turn into an unmissable staple within the racing calendar and remained so for many years. There have been huge rivalries between racing stables with the finals held at prestigious venues such because the Nationwide Sporting Membership, the Holborn Stadium, the Royal Albert Corridor and the London Hilton Resort.
It’s been mentioned jockeys make good boxers and that is demonstrably true. Poplar’s Teddy Baldock [pictured above], who gained the British bantamweight title and a model of the world crown within the Nineteen Twenties, had a stint at Epsom as an apprentice jockey earlier than buying and selling the turf for the ring. Three a long time later, fellow East Ender Terry Spinks of Canning City made the identical transfer with related success. Within the early Nineteen Fifties, Spinks was an apprentice jockey at Newmarket, successful each attainable honour within the secure lads’ boxing occasions. After that Terry gained the ABA flyweight crown, gold on the 1956 Melbourne Olympics and the British featherweight title as a professional.
Simply after Spinks’ professional ring profession had ended one other ex-apprentice jockey was starting his. Colin Lake (often known as Lakey), who hailed from Holloway in north London, was a eager beginner boxer earlier than turning into an apprentice jockey underneath the well-known coach and former jockey Harry Wragg. Lakey gained secure lads’ boxing titles two years working and as a rider clocked up 28 races with seven wins. This included a photograph end in opposition to famend jockey Scobie Breasley. “Successful a race was like successful a combat,” Lakey instructed boxing author Melanie Lloyd, “however successful a combat was higher.”
So, Colin swapped racing for boxing. He had just a few senior beginner contests earlier than turning over in October 1963, at age 21. In a 30-fight professional profession he boxed his option to a British junior-lightweight (now super-featherweight) title combat. Lakey had crushed reigning champ Jimmy Anderson by disqualification in a non-title bout in January 1969, however he was stopped in seven rounds in his title bid a month later.
After retiring, Lakey turned a boxing coach and arrange his personal beginner membership in Newmarket. The choice paid dividends as he discovered an abundance of would-be boxers among the many secure lads. Certainly one of them, Ivor “The Engine” Jones, gained three consecutive secure lads’ titles and fought for the Southern Space bantamweight crown as a professional. However Lakey’s best success as a coach got here within the Nineties with one other former Newmarket secure lad, Colin Dunne. “Dynamo” Dunne gained three secure lads’ championships, plus schoolboy and junior ABA titles earlier than turning professional with Lakey as his coach and successful Southern Space and WBU light-weight honours.
A remaining point out should go to Nottingham’s Jimmy Gill, who managed the inconceivable feat of concurrently juggling horse racing and professional boxing careers. The “Preventing Jockey”, as he was identified, amassed 123 contests between 1931 and 1950, successful 76 of them together with an Space title. All through that point he was additionally a profitable jockey, using common winners each in Britain and in India as a rider for the Maharaja of Cooch-Behar. How he fitted all that in is a thriller.