Brian London

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Brian London
Statistics
Real nameBrian Sydney Harper
Rated atHeavyweight
NationalityBritish
Born(1934-06-19) 19 June 1934 (age 79)
West Hartlepool, County Durham, England, UK
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights58
Wins37
Wins by KO26
Losses20
Draws1
No contests0
 
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Brian London
Statistics
Real nameBrian Sydney Harper
Rated atHeavyweight
NationalityBritish
Born(1934-06-19) 19 June 1934 (age 79)
West Hartlepool, County Durham, England, UK
StanceOrthodox
Boxing record
Total fights58
Wins37
Wins by KO26
Losses20
Draws1
No contests0

Brian London, (born Brian Sidney Harper, 19 June 1934, in West Hartlepool, County Durham) is a retired English heavyweight boxer.[1] He was British and Commonwealth Heavyweight champion from 1958 to 1959, and twice challenged for the world heavyweight title, losing to Floyd Patterson in 1959 and Muhammad Ali in 1966. He was one of a quartet of British boxers, with Henry Cooper, Joe Erskine and Dick Richardson, who dominated the British boxing scene throughout the 1950s and 1960s.

An orthodox, rugged, no-nonsense fighter who lacked finesse but showed lots of courage, he was 6 ft tall and fought at about 14 st 9 lbs. His nicknames in the ring were "The British Bulldog" and "The Blackpool Rock". He defeated a number of world-class and well-known fighters such as Zora Folley, Willie Pastrano, Pete Rademacher, Tom McNeeley, Roger Rischer, Joe Erskine, Amos Johnson, Billy Walker, Von Clay, Young Jack Johnson and Kitione Lave.

Early career[edit]

London was born in West Hartlepool, County Durham, in 1934, and moved to Blackpool when he was 16 years old, where he has lived ever since.[2] His father, Jack London, beat Freddie Mills in 1944 to win the British heavyweight title. He also had a brother, Jack junior, who fought as a light-heavyweight. London fought as an amateur before turning professional in 1955.[3] He made a good start to his career, winning his first twelve bouts, until he came up against Henry Cooper in May 1956. Cooper stopped him with a technical knockout in the first round.[3] Following this defeat, London continued his winning run, apart from two ten-round point defeats, against Heinz Neuhaus in Dortmund, in 1957 and against the talented American, Willie Pastrano in February 1958.[3]

British heavyweight title[edit]

In June 1958, he fought Joe Erskine, the Welsh boxer, for the British and Commonwealth heavyweight titles. The fight was at the White City Stadium, London, and London took the titles with an eighth-round knockout. He followed this in September with a revenge win against Willie Pastrano, by a technical knockout in the fifth round. On 12 January 1959, London lost his titles in a fight against Henry Cooper, losing for the second time to the Londoner by a points decision after fifteen rounds.[3][4]

World title fight[edit]

In May 1959 he was given the chance of a world title fight against current champion, Floyd Patterson, but he lost the bout in Indianapolis by a knockout in the eleventh. He also lost to the Cuban Nino Valdez later that year, by a technical knockout in the seventh. However, in January 1960, London bounced back when he beat the American Pete Rademacher by a knockout in the seventh.[3] Rademacher had made history by being the only man to fight for the world heavyweight championship on his professional debut, losing to Floyd Patterson.

Further domestic career[edit]

In August 1960, London challenged Dick Richardson for his European heavyweight title, but lost the bout in Porthcawl, Wales on a technical knockout in the eighth. This result provoked a brawl, when London's father and brother invaded the ring to protest that Richardson had used his head to open a cut on his opponent. When Richardson's trainer shouted a few remarks at London, London replied with an impressive combination of blows, decking him, and chaos broke out. As a result of the incident, London was fined by the British Boxing Board of Control.

In October 1961, London lost to the American, Eddie Machen by a technical knockout in the tenth, and in April 1963, he lost to the Swede, Ingemar Johansson on points over twelve rounds.

He fought Henry Cooper for the third time in February 1964, when he challenged for his British and Commonwealth titles, as well as the vacant European title. The fight took place in Manchester, and Cooper won on points after fifteen rounds.[3]

His next fight of note was in March 1965, against the young "Golden Boy" of British boxing, Billy Walker. London won on points after ten rounds.

Second world title fight[edit]

In August 1966, London fought for the world heavyweight title for the second time, when Muhammad Ali came to defend his title at Earl's Court Exhibition Hall. Ali put in a masterful performance hitting London at will - as London put it in an interview with BBC TV "he was just getting through all the time" - Brian was KOd in the 3rd round after Ali landed 11 punches in 3 seconds.

Latter stages of his career[edit]

In March 1967, London next fought American, Jerry Quarry, in Los Angeles, losing the fight by a unanimous decision after ten rounds. In November 1967, London had, what was to be the last win in his career when he fought the talented American, Zora Folley. Foley had lost a world title fight against Muhammad Ali, earlier that year, and London beat him on points over ten rounds.[3]

London had continued to fight when he was past his best, and in June 1968, he lost, by a technical knockout to Jack Bodell. In September 1969 he travelled to Oakland, California to fight Jerry Quarry for the second time, this time being knocked out in the second round.[3] The bout was unusual in that the bell was inadvertently rung as London was getting up after being knocked down in the second. The fighters returned to their corners and the referee, realising that the round had not finished, made them resume. London was then knocked down again and was counted out before the end of the round.

London's last fight was against the up-and-coming young boxer Joe Bugner, who would eventually take the British, Commonwealth and European titles from Henry Cooper. The bout was in May 1970, at Wembley, and Bugner won by a technical knockout in the fifth, signalling an end to London's career.[3]

Retirement and personal life[edit]

After retiring from boxing, London became a businessman in his hometown of Blackpool, owning several nightclubs, and is still a fitness fanatic running 12 miles a day. Teetotal all of his life, in 2006 it was revealed that he was still only a few pounds over his fighting weight.[2] He is married with three children.

In January 1971 English footballer Bobby Moore was embroiled in what became a national media story when he and three other West Ham United players, Jimmy Greaves, Clyde Best and Brian Dear, spent the evening at London's 007 nightclub in Blackpool, the night before an important FA Cup match against Blackpool which they went on to lose 4-0, with then West Ham manager Ron Greenwood and the national media severely criticising the players. Moore later said of the incident, "I'd met Brian London on many occasions and thought it would be nice to look him up. I suppose we all realised at the time that we were leaving ourselves vulnerable".[5][6]

London has always said that fighting Muhammad Ali was the greatest honour of his life. Like so many other boxers, London continued fighting long after his prime. He was 22 wins to 3 losses early in his career but lost 17 of his last 33 fights. In judging London's career it should be remembered that he fought some of the best fighters in the world, including four who at some stage were world champions – Ali, Patterson, Johansson and Pastrano.

My dad was Jack London and I was expected to fight as well. I was never a great fighter. I was just really, really fit.[2]

—Brian London

In 2004, the British Boxing website listed London at number eight in a list of the top ten post World War II British Heavyweight boxers.[7] He is a member of Blackpool Sportsman's Aid Society (BSAS) which raises funds for local charities and sporting needs in Blackpool.[citation needed]

Professional boxing record[edit]

37 Wins (26 knockouts, 11 decisions), 20 Losses (11 knockouts, 9 decisions), 1 Draw [1]
ResultRecordOpponentTypeRoundDateLocationNotes
Loss25-2Australia Joe BugnerTKO512 May 1970United Kingdom Empire Pool, Wembley, London
Loss32-3-4United States Jerry QuarryKO23 Sep 1969United States Oakland Arena, Oakland, CaliforniaLondon knocked out at 2:30 of the second round.
Loss11-7-3United States "King" Jim FletcherTKO110 Apr 1969United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, MerseysideReferee stopped the bout at 1:20 of the first round.
Draw16-4-2United States Henry ClarkPTS106 Feb 1969United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside49.25-49.25.
Loss45-9United Kingdom Jack BodellTKO910 Jun 1968United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, MerseysideBBBofC Heavyweight Title Eliminator.
Loss17-11Peru Roberto DavilaTKO629 Feb 1968United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside
Win76-8-4United States Zora FolleyPTS1013 Nov 1967United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside49.75-48.75.
Win10-2United States James J. WoodyPTS1015 Aug 1967United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside49.25-49.
Loss21-1-3United States Jerry QuarryUD109 Mar 1967United Kingdom Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California1-8, 2-8, 2-9.
Loss24-0United States Muhammad AliKO36 Aug 1966United Kingdom Earls Court Arena, Kensington, LondonWorld Heavyweight Title. London knocked out at 1:40 of the third round.
Win22-3-2United States Amos JohnsonDQ721 Jun 1966United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside
Loss28-4United States Thad SpencerPTS102 May 1966United Kingdom Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, Belle Vue, Manchester
Win27-9-2United States Roger RischerKO120 Sep 1965United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, MerseysideRischer knocked out at 0:50 of the first round.
Win14-3-1United Kingdom Billy "Golden Boy" WalkerPTS1030 Mar 1965United Kingdom Empire Pool, Wembley, London
Win15-4Italy Giorgio MasteghinRTD42 Feb 1965United Kingdom Tower Circus, Blackpool, LancashireMasteghin retired at 0:55 of the fourth round.
Win10-5-1United States Chip JohnsonTKO415 Dec 1964United Kingdom Wolverhampton Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, West Midlands
Loss25-4-2United Kingdom Johnny PrescottPTS1013 Aug 1964United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside
Loss27-9-1United Kingdom Henry CooperPTS1524 Feb 1964United Kingdom Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, Belle Vue, ManchesterBBBofC/EBU/Commonwealth Heavyweight Titles.
Win19-3-1United States Bill NielsenKO42 Dec 1963United Kingdom St James Hall, Newcastle upon Tyne
Win13-7-3United States Don WarnerPTS88 May 1963United Kingdom Winter Gardens, Blackpool, Lancashire
Loss25-2Sweden Ingemar JohanssonPTS1221 Apr 1963Sweden Johanneshovs Isstadion, Stockholm
Win26-5United States Tom McNeeleyPTS1029 Jan 1963United Kingdom London Olympia, Kensington, London
Win16-7-2United States Von ClayPTS1011 Oct 1962United Kingdom Tower Circus, Blackpool, Lancashire
Win38-25-8United States Howard "Honeyboy" KingKO614 Aug 1962United Kingdom Blackpool, LancashireKing knocked out at 2:17 of the sixth round.
Loss43-3-2Italy Santo AmontiPTS107 Jul 1962Italy Stadio Mario Rigamonti, Brescia, Lombardy
Win23-16-1United States Young Jack JohnsonPTS1026 Feb 1962United Kingdom Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, Belle Vue, Manchester
Loss38-4-1United States Eddie MachenRTD517 Oct 1961United Kingdom Empire Pool, Wembley, London
Win19-8-3United States William Herman HunterTKO824 Apr 1961United Kingdom Manchester, Lancashire
Loss28-11-2Wales Dick RichardsonTKO829 Aug 1960Wales Coney Beach Pleasure Park, PorthcawlEBU Heavyweight Title.
Win6-2-1United States Pete RademacherKO726 Apr 1960United Kingdom Empire Pool, Wembley, LondonPete knocked out at 0:15 of the seventh round.
Loss47-18-3Cuba Nino ValdesTKO71 Dec 1959United Kingdom Empire Pool, Wembley, London
Loss34-1United States Floyd PattersonKO111 May 1959United States Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum, Indianapolis, IndianaWorld Heavyweight Title. London knocked out at 0:51 of the 11th round.
Loss17-7-1United Kingdom Henry CooperPTS1512 Jan 1959United Kingdom Empress Hall, Earl's Court, Kensington, LondonBBBofC/Commonwealth Heavyweight Titles.
Win47-5-5United States Willie PastranoTKO530 Sep 1958United Kingdom Harringay Arena, Harringay, London
Win32-2-1Wales Joe ErskineKO83 Jun 1958United Kingdom White City Stadium, White City, LondonBBBofC/Commonwealth Heavyweight Titles.
Loss43-5-5United States Willie PastranoPTS1025 Feb 1958United Kingdom Harringay Arena, Harringay, London
Win20-5-6United States Howie TurnerPTS1010 Dec 1957United Kingdom Harringay Arena, Harringay, London
Win31-7-2Tonga Kitione LavePTS1012 Aug 1957United Kingdom Greyhound Stadium, West Hartlepool, County DurhamCommonwealth Heavyweight Title Eliminator.
Win23-8-1United Kingdom Peter BatesKO21 Jul 1957United Kingdom Engineer's Club, West Hartlepool, County DurhamBates knocked out at 2:14 of the second round.
Win24-13-4Netherlands Willy SchagenKO127 May 1957Wales Maindy Stadium, Cardiff
Win14-6-2France Robert DuquesneKO15 Mar 1957United Kingdom Embassy Sportsdrome, Birmingham, West Midlands
Loss37-6-6Germany Heinz NeuhausPTS103 Feb 1957Germany Westfalenhallen, Dortmund, North Rhine-Westphalia
Win35-13-5Luxembourg Werner WiegandKO219 Nov 1956United Kingdom St James Hall, Newcastle upon Tyne
Win7-3Wales Trevor SnellKO227 Aug 1956Wales Maindy Stadium, Cardiff
Win4-3Tonga George NaufahuTKO49 Jul 1956United Kingdom Engineer's Club, West Hartlepool, County Durham
Loss12-2United Kingdom Henry CooperTKO11 May 1956United Kingdom Empress Hall, Earl's Court, Kensington, London
Win7-2Belgium Jose PeyreTKO113 Mar 1956United Kingdom Harringay Arena, Harringay, LondonReferee stopped the bout at 1:10 of the first round.
Win5-2United Kingdom Jim "Twin George" CooperTKO417 Jan 1956United Kingdom Streatham Ice Arena, Streatham, London, England
Win5-2-1United States Basil KewTKO26 Dec 1955United Kingdom Harringay Arena, Harringay, London
Win0-15-1Belgium Prosper BeckKO111 Nov 1955United Kingdom Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, Belle Vue, Manchester
Win21-25-4Jamaica Simon TemplarTKO724 Oct 1955United Kingdom Middlesbrough, Yorkshire
Win15-7-6Spain José González SalesTKO37 Oct 1955United Kingdom Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, Belle Vue, Manchester
Win9-28-4Belgium Robert EugenePTS88 Aug 1955United Kingdom Engineer's Club, West Hartlepool, County Durham
Win22-23-1Northern Ireland Paddy SlavinTKO211 Jul 1955United Kingdom Engineer's Club, West Hartlepool, County Durham
Win6-13-2United Kingdom Dinny PowellKO46 Jun 1955United Kingdom St James Hall, Newcastle upon Tyne
Win4-15-3Scotland Hugh McDonaldKO223 May 1955United Kingdom Engineer's Club, West Hartlepool, County Durham
Win7-7-4United Kingdom Frank WalshawKO218 Apr 1955United Kingdom Birmingham, West Midlands
Win5-10United Kingdom Dennis LocktonTKO122 Mar 1955United Kingdom Empress Hall, Earl's Court, Kensington, London

See also[edit]

Achievements
Preceded by
Joe Erskine
British Heavyweight Champion
Commonwealth Heavyweight Champion

June 3, 1958 – January 12, 1959
Succeeded by
Henry Cooper

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mee, Bob (2005-12-08). "Fight night in great tradition". Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-03-12. [dead link]
  2. ^ a b c "Boxer Brian's book is set to be a big hitter". Blackpool Gazette. 2006-03-27. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i Amato, Jim (2006-03-26). "Brian London: He Did England Proud". East Side Boxing. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  4. ^ "Happened on this day - 12 January". BBC Sport. 2002-01-13. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  5. ^ "Blackpool 4, West Ham 0, FA Cup third round, 2 January 1971: Boozy Bobby's night of shame". Blackpool Gazette. 2006-09-20. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 
  6. ^ "The Truth About Blackpool". Bobby Moore online. Retrieved 2008-03-12. [dead link]
  7. ^ "BBN's Top Ten post-war Heavyweights". BritishBoxing.net. 2004-07-28. Retrieved 2008-03-12. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]