Boxing in the 1950s at the Engineers Club

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IN his effort to promote an eliminator leading to the world heavyweight title held by Joe Louis, promoter Jack Solomons matched our British heavyweight champion Bruce Woodcock against Lee Savold, a top American heavyweight.

The winner was to then fight Louis for the world heavyweight title.

This fight was to take place promoted by London promoter Jack Solomons.

Hartlepool promoter Walter Hazletine had a very successful regular boxing promotion at the Engineers Club, Hartlepool.

Along with several other northern boxing promoters, Mr Hazletine was to include a short training routine in each of his weekly promotions through the summer months.

The object of course was to publicise both Savold and Woodcock on alternate weeks.

This plan was quickly put into action by Mr Hazletine in the interval of his boxing bill.

First off was Lee Savold versus his sparring partner, who was the Canadian Don Mogard.

Lee Savold impressed with his very crisp punching and economical footwork.

He looked a true professional and received a great ovation from our home crowd.

On the following Monday evening Bruce Woodcock demonstrated his sparring skills.

I vividly recall his arrival at the ring side as he vaulted over the top rope.

Very soon he went into a clever routine, fast skipping to be followed by a warm-up, shadow boxing before donning the gloves to commence sparring.

His sparring partner looked very nervous.

Bruce Woodcock used a very fast left jab. This action was very accurate and seemed like the piston of a railway engine.

Woodcock looked tremendously fit!

Eventually Woodcock v Savold would clash on two separate occasions with a win each.

Lee Savold some time later achieved his chance to fight world champion Joe Louis in America, and unfortunately finished exhausted, unable to answer the bell, with a broken jaw.

This happened all of 60 years ago, still vivid in memory.

Bruce Woodcock of Doncaster remains my favourite British heavyweight champion, often referred to as ‘the plucky Yorkshireman.’

His only failing - he was a stone (14lb) too light in body weight for a top heavyweight.

I wonder if any of the older boxing fans from Hartlepool remember these very vivid boxing days at the Engineers Club, Hartlepool in the 1950s?

L Rose,

Elizabeth Way,

Hartlepool.