Brian London

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Brian London
Statistics
Real name Brian Sydney Harper
Rated at Heavyweight
Nationality British
Born (1934-06-19) 19 June 1934 (age 80)
West Hartlepool, County Durham, England, UK
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 58
Wins 37
Wins by KO 26
Losses 20
Draws 1
No contests 0

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 205 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 [8]
Result Record Opponent Type Round Date Location Notes
Loss 25-2 Australia Joe Bugner TKO 5 12 May 1970 United Kingdom Empire Pool, Wembley, London
Loss 32-3-4 United States Jerry Quarry KO 2 3 Sep 1969 United States Oakland Arena, Oakland, California London knocked out at 2:30 of the second round.
Loss 11-7-3 United States "King" Jim Fletcher TKO 1 10 Apr 1969 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside Referee stopped the bout at 1:20 of the first round.
Draw 16-4-2 United States Henry Clark PTS 10 6 Feb 1969 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside 49.25-49.25.
Loss 45-9 United Kingdom Jack Bodell TKO 9 10 Jun 1968 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside BBBofC Heavyweight Title Eliminator.
Loss 17-11 Peru Roberto Davila TKO 6 29 Feb 1968 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside
Win 76-8-4 United States Zora Folley PTS 10 13 Nov 1967 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside 49.75-48.75.
Win 10-2 United States James J. Woody PTS 10 15 Aug 1967 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside 49.25-49.
Loss 21-1-3 United States Jerry Quarry UD 10 9 Mar 1967 United Kingdom Olympic Auditorium, Los Angeles, California 1-8, 2-8, 2-9.
Loss 24-0 United States Muhammad Ali KO 3 6 Aug 1966 United Kingdom Earls Court Arena, Kensington, London World Heavyweight Title. London knocked out at 1:40 of the third round.
Win 22-3-2 United States Amos Johnson DQ 7 21 Jun 1966 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside
Loss 28-4 United States Thad Spencer PTS 10 2 May 1966 United Kingdom Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, Belle Vue, Manchester
Win 27-9-2 United States Roger Rischer KO 1 20 Sep 1965 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside Rischer knocked out at 0:50 of the first round.
Win 14-3-1 United Kingdom Billy "Golden Boy" Walker PTS 10 30 Mar 1965 United Kingdom Empire Pool, Wembley, London
Win 15-4 Italy Giorgio Masteghin RTD 4 2 Feb 1965 United Kingdom Tower Circus, Blackpool, Lancashire Masteghin retired at 0:55 of the fourth round.
Win 10-5-1 United States Chip Johnson TKO 4 15 Dec 1964 United Kingdom Wolverhampton Civic Hall, Wolverhampton, West Midlands
Loss 25-4-2 United Kingdom Johnny Prescott PTS 10 13 Aug 1964 United Kingdom Liverpool Stadium, Liverpool, Merseyside
Loss 27-9-1 United Kingdom Henry Cooper PTS 15 24 Feb 1964 United Kingdom Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, Belle Vue, Manchester BBBofC/EBU/Commonwealth Heavyweight Titles.
Win 19-3-1 United States Bill Nielsen KO 4 2 Dec 1963 United Kingdom St James Hall, Newcastle upon Tyne
Win 13-7-3 United States Don Warner PTS 8 8 May 1963 United Kingdom Winter Gardens, Blackpool, Lancashire
Loss 25-2 Sweden Ingemar Johansson PTS 12 21 Apr 1963 Sweden Johanneshovs Isstadion, Stockholm
Win 26-5 United States Tom McNeeley PTS 10 29 Jan 1963 United Kingdom London Olympia, Kensington, London
Win 16-7-2 United States Von Clay PTS 10 11 Oct 1962 United Kingdom Tower Circus, Blackpool, Lancashire
Win 38-25-8 United States Howard "Honeyboy" King KO 6 14 Aug 1962 United Kingdom Blackpool, Lancashire King knocked out at 2:17 of the sixth round.
Loss 43-3-2 Italy Santo Amonti PTS 10 7 Jul 1962 Italy Stadio Mario Rigamonti, Brescia, Lombardy
Win 23-16-1 United States Young Jack Johnson PTS 10 26 Feb 1962 United Kingdom Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, Belle Vue, Manchester
Loss 38-4-1 United States Eddie Machen RTD 5 17 Oct 1961 United Kingdom Empire Pool, Wembley, London
Win 19-8-3 United States William Herman Hunter TKO 8 24 Apr 1961 United Kingdom Manchester, Lancashire
Loss 28-11-2 Wales Dick Richardson TKO 8 29 Aug 1960 Wales Coney Beach Pleasure Park, Porthcawl EBU Heavyweight Title.
Win 6-2-1 United States Pete Rademacher KO 7 26 Apr 1960 United Kingdom Empire Pool, Wembley, London Pete knocked out at 0:15 of the seventh round.
Loss 47-18-3 Cuba Nino Valdes TKO 7 1 Dec 1959 United Kingdom Empire Pool, Wembley, London
Loss 34-1 United States Floyd Patterson KO 11 1 May 1959 United States Indiana State Fairgrounds Coliseum, Indianapolis, Indiana World Heavyweight Title. London knocked out at 0:51 of the 11th round.
Loss 17-7-1 United Kingdom Henry Cooper PTS 15 12 Jan 1959 United Kingdom Empress Hall, Earl's Court, Kensington, London BBBofC/Commonwealth Heavyweight Titles.
Win 47-5-5 United States Willie Pastrano TKO 5 30 Sep 1958 United Kingdom Harringay Arena, Harringay, London
Win 32-2-1 Wales Joe Erskine KO 8 3 Jun 1958 United Kingdom White City Stadium, White City, London BBBofC/Commonwealth Heavyweight Titles.
Loss 43-5-5 United States Willie Pastrano PTS 10 25 Feb 1958 United Kingdom Harringay Arena, Harringay, London
Win 20-5-6 United States Howie Turner PTS 10 10 Dec 1957 United Kingdom Harringay Arena, Harringay, London
Win 31-7-2 Tonga Kitione Lave PTS 10 12 Aug 1957 United Kingdom Greyhound Stadium, West Hartlepool, County Durham Commonwealth Heavyweight Title Eliminator.
Win 23-8-1 United Kingdom Peter Bates KO 2 1 Jul 1957 United Kingdom Engineer's Club, West Hartlepool, County Durham Bates knocked out at 2:14 of the second round.
Win 24-13-4 Netherlands Willy Schagen KO 1 27 May 1957 Wales Maindy Stadium, Cardiff
Win 14-6-2 France Robert Duquesne KO 1 5 Mar 1957 United Kingdom Embassy Sportsdrome, Birmingham, West Midlands
Loss 37-6-6 Germany Heinz Neuhaus PTS 10 3 Feb 1957 Germany Westfalenhallen, Dortmund, North Rhine-Westphalia
Win 35-13-5 Luxembourg Werner Wiegand KO 2 19 Nov 1956 United Kingdom St James Hall, Newcastle upon Tyne
Win 7-3 Wales Trevor Snell KO 2 27 Aug 1956 Wales Maindy Stadium, Cardiff
Win 4-3 Tonga George Naufahu TKO 4 9 Jul 1956 United Kingdom Engineer's Club, West Hartlepool, County Durham
Loss 12-2 United Kingdom Henry Cooper TKO 1 1 May 1956 United Kingdom Empress Hall, Earl's Court, Kensington, London
Win 7-2 Belgium Jose Peyre TKO 1 13 Mar 1956 United Kingdom Harringay Arena, Harringay, London Referee stopped the bout at 1:10 of the first round.
Win 5-2 United Kingdom Jim "Twin George" Cooper TKO 4 17 Jan 1956 United Kingdom Streatham Ice Arena, Streatham, London, England
Win 5-2-1 United States Basil Kew TKO 2 6 Dec 1955 United Kingdom Harringay Arena, Harringay, London
Win 0-15-1 Belgium Prosper Beck KO 1 11 Nov 1955 United Kingdom Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, Belle Vue, Manchester
Win 21-25-4 Jamaica Simon Templar TKO 7 24 Oct 1955 United Kingdom Middlesbrough, Yorkshire
Win 15-7-6 Spain José González Sales TKO 3 7 Oct 1955 United Kingdom Belle Vue Zoological Gardens, Belle Vue, Manchester
Win 9-28-4 Belgium Robert Eugene PTS 8 8 Aug 1955 United Kingdom Engineer's Club, West Hartlepool, County Durham
Win 22-23-1 Northern Ireland Paddy Slavin TKO 2 11 Jul 1955 United Kingdom Engineer's Club, West Hartlepool, County Durham
Win 6-13-2 United Kingdom Dinny Powell KO 4 6 Jun 1955 United Kingdom St James Hall, Newcastle upon Tyne
Win 4-15-3 Scotland Hugh McDonald KO 2 23 May 1955 United Kingdom Engineer's Club, West Hartlepool, County Durham
Win 7-7-4 United Kingdom Frank Walshaw KO 2 18 Apr 1955 United Kingdom Birmingham, West Midlands
Win 5-10 United Kingdom Dennis Lockton TKO 1 22 Mar 1955 United 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. 
  8. ^ http://boxrec.com/list_bouts.php?human_id=9380&cat=boxer

Further reading[edit]

  • Riddle, John (2008). Hartlepool People: A Tribute to the Town's Rich, Famous and Infamous, Cormorant Publishing Hartlepool, ISBN 978-0-9558593-0-4

External links[edit]