Billy Thompson wished to verify his dad would by no means have to go down a mine once more. He would mild up the British battle recreation within the gloomy post-war years
IN the aftermath of World Warfare II, the British public craved pleasure and leisure like by no means earlier than. After six years of trauma and privation, they flocked to bop halls, cinemas and sporting stadia with feverish delight, and boxing – then a sport of the lots – was among the many largest attracts.
The fighters who pulled within the crowds – then as now – had been those who promised color and thrills. And in late Nineteen Forties Britain the light-weight division boasted a boxer whose performances provided each. Billy Thompson was a dynamic, unyielding pressure-fighter who not often took a backward step. Turning professional within the yr the struggle ended, 1945, for battle followers he was the proper antidote to the gloom that had enveloped Britain for thus lengthy.
Born in New Silksworth, Sunderland, in 1925, Billy moved to Thurnscoe, close to Rotherham, together with his household at age 5. As a schoolboy boxer he gained the Yorkshire faculties’ title two years operating and when he left faculty to work at Hickleton Maine Colliery like his father, he discovered he may prepare within the colliery’s newly constructed gymnasium.
He lied about his age – claiming he was 17 moderately than 16 – to enter the Northern Counties senior flyweight championship and defeated a string of older opponents to take the title. In 1943, he gained the Northern Counties featherweight crown, and in 1944 set the seal on his beginner fame by successful the ABA light-weight title. He deliberate to defend his crown in 1945 however was stored out of the championship by an ear harm.
The stocky, curly-haired Yorkshireman might have stayed within the amateurs longer, however his father had been pensioned off from the pits after growing silicosis and Billy wanted to assist the household. There was discuss of his father returning to coal-mining after two or three years’ recuperation, however Billy aimed to verify his dad would by no means have to go down a mine once more.
Thompson turned professional with the younger, up-and-coming London-based supervisor Jarvis Astaire, and crammed 34 fights into his first two years within the paid ranks. Billy was 30-2-1 when he confronted Stan Hawthorne of North Shields at Anfield in October 1947 for the vacant British light-weight title.
The battle was a slaughter, Billy attacking the North Shields man with unbridled ferocity from the opening bell. In some way Hawthorne survived a number of knockdowns to final into the third spherical when referee Peter Muir stepped in. Thompson had claimed the crown in beneath seven minutes.
Billy held the title for slightly below 4 years, seeing off challenges from Harry Hughes of Wishaw and Bermondsey’s Tommy McGovern. Thompson boxed brilliantly to seize the European crown from Italy’s Roberto Proietti in February 1948 and retained it towards Pierre Montane (France), Josef Preys (Belgium) and Hughes, earlier than shedding the title on a low blow disqualification to Child Dussart of Belgium in July 1949.
Throughout his rise to the highest Billy had appeared sensational, however after successful his titles his kind grew to become erratic and he struggled to make light-weight. By 1951, Thompson was preventing as a full-fledged welter, however boiled right down to light-weight for one more defence towards McGovern. A pale, weight-drained ghost of the Billy Thompson the boxing world knew was floored by the primary actual punch of the battle and KO’d inside 45 seconds. After a couple of extra bouts at welterweight, Billy retired at age 27. He had been the primary post-war champion to win a Lonsdale Belt outright and, extra importantly maybe, was capable of purchase his household a farm in Thurnscoe together with his ring earnings.
Thompson died in January 2009, aged 83. On the funeral his cherished Lonsdale Belt was draped throughout the coffin as a becoming reminder of his achievements.