Joe Erskine (Welsh boxer)
Joseph Erskine (26 January 1934 – 18 February 1990) was a heavyweight boxer from the Butetown district of Cardiff, Wales. He was an Amateur Boxing Association Champion, Inter-Services Champion, and British Army Champion in 1953. He began fighting as a professional in 1954 and was trained by Freddie Elvin. He held the British heavyweight title from August 1956 to June 1958. In all, he won 45 of his 54 professional bouts, losing 8, with one drawn. His best wins were against George Chuvalo, Henry Cooper, Dick Richardson, Uli Ritter, Jack Bodell, Johnny Williams, Joe Bygraves and Willie Pastrano.
Erskine was a small heavyweight who outmaneuvered rather than overpowered his opponents. Angelo Dundee who saw his prospect Pastrano defeated by Erskine said he was surprised by his skill – further remarking that if Erskine had been just a bit bigger he could have been a world beater.
On 27 August 1956, Erskine won the British heavyweight title, which had been vacated by the retirement of Don Cockell. He beat fellow Welshman, Johnny Williams on points in a fifteen-round fight at the Maindy Stadium, Cardiff.
On 17 September 1957, he added the British Empire (Commonwealth) heavyweight title, when he beat Henry Cooper for the second time. The fight was at Harringay Arena over fifteen rounds, and was won on points.
He successfully defended his British Empire (Commonwealth) against Jamaican-born heavyweight Joe Bygraves on 25 November 1957, again winning over fifteen rounds on points.
On 24 February 1959, Erskine fought and defeated the talented American boxer Willie Pastrano, who was later (in 1964) to become World light-heavyweight champion. The fight was at the Wembley Stadium over ten rounds and Erskine won on points.
In the meantime Henry Cooper had defeated Brian London to take the British and Commonwealth titles from him. On 17 November 1959, Erskine fought Cooper for both titles, having beaten him on their two previous meetings. The bout was held at the Earls Court Arena, London. Cooper won the fight on a technical knockout. Cooper, who was renowned for the power of his left hook, floored Erskine twice with terrific left hooks and Erskine was hanging almost unconscious over the lower rope when the referee stopped the bout.
Erskine went to Toronto, Ontario, Canada to fight George Chuvalo, who was hoping to show that he had the talent to fight for the world title against Floyd Patterson. Unfortunately for Chuvalo the fight, on 2 October 1961, was stopped in the fifth round and Chuvalo was disqualified for persistent head butting. Erskine claimed that he was butted eight times during the five rounds, while Chuvalo claimed he was retaliating for getting thumbed in the eye by Joe.
On 2 April 1962, he fought Cooper for the fifth and last time, this time at the Ice Rink, Nottingham. Cooper retained his titles by winning on a technical knockout in the ninth round.
On 3 March 1964, Erskine fought Jack Bodell, a British champion of the future, and defeated him on points over ten rounds.
In his 54 professional bouts, he won 45 (13 on knock-outs), and lost 8 (6 on knock-outs). One of his bouts was drawn.
Professional boxing record
|45 Wins (13 knockouts, 32 decisions), 8 Losses (6 knockouts, 2 decisions), 1 Draw |
|Loss||12–3–1||Billy Walker||PTS||10||27 October 1964||Empire Pool, Wembley, London|
|Win||24–3–2||Johnny Prescott||PTS||10||21 April 1964||Embassy Sportsdrome, Birmingham, West Midlands|
|Win||15–3||Jack Bodell||PTS||10||3 March 1964||Granby Halls, Leicester, Leicestershire|
|Loss||37–2–1||Karl Mildenberger||PTS||10||13 October 1963||Westfalenhallen, Dortmund, North Rhine-Westphalia|
|Win||19–15–2||Freddie Mack||PTS||10||10 August 1963||Pavilion, Newtown, Powys|
|Win||3–3||Ray Cillien||TKO||4||29 July 1963||Cardiff Drill Hall, Cardiff|
|Win||10–11||Alex Barrow||KO||7||12 December 1962||Tower Circus, Blackpool, Lancashire|
|Win||18–18–4||Jose Mariano Moracia Ibanes||PTS||10||20 November 1962||Leicester, Leicestershire|
|Loss||25–8–1||Henry Cooper||TKO||9||2 April 1962||Nottingham Ice Stadium, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire||Commonwealth/BBBofC Heavyweight Titles.|
|Win||20–6–1||George Chuvalo||DQ||5||2 October 1961||Toronto, Ontario||Chuvalo disqualified at 1:27 of the fifth round for headbutting.|
|Loss||22–7–1||Henry Cooper||TKO||5||21 March 1961||Empire Pool, Wembley, London||Commonwealth/BBBofC Heavyweight Titles.|
|Win||20–4–6||Ulli Ritter||PTS||10||24 January 1961||Granby Halls, Leicester, Leicestershire|
|Win||30–21–6||José González Sales||TKO||5||22 September 1960||Sophia Gardens, Cardiff|
|Loss||19–7–1||Henry Cooper||TKO||12||17 November 1959||Earls Court Arena, Kensington, London||BBBofC/Commonwealth Heavyweight Titles.|
|Win||24–1–1||Bruno Scarabellin||PTS||10||26 August 1959||Coney Beach Pleasure Park, Porthcawl|
|Win||27–8–2||Dick Richardson||PTS||10||24 June 1959||Coney Beach Pleasure Park, Porthcawl|
|Win||47–6–5||Willie Pastrano||PTS||10||24 February 1959||Empire Exhibition Stadium, Wembley, London|
|Win||9–3–1||Max Brianto||PTS||10||12 November 1958||Maindy Stadium, Cardiff|
|Loss||20–3||Brian London||KO||8||3 June 1958||White City Stadium, White City, London||BBBofC/Commonwealth Heavyweight Titles.|
|Loss||18–0||Ingemar Johansson||TKO||13||21 February 1958||, Gothenburg||EBU Heavyweight Title.|
|Win||36–10–1||Joe Bygraves||PTS||15||25 November 1957||Granby Halls, Leicester, Leicestershire||Commonwealth Heavyweight Title.|
|Win||14–5||Henry Cooper||PTS||15||17 September 1957||Harringay Arena, Harringay, London||Commonwealth/BBBofC Heavyweight Titles.|
|Win||23–7–1||Peter Bates||PTS||12||28 May 1957||Doncaster Racecourse, Doncaster, Yorkshire|
|Loss||37–14–3||Nino Valdes||KO||1||19 February 1957||Earls Court Arena, Kensington, London||Erskine knocked out at 2:03 of the first round.|
|Win||60–9–4||Johnny Williams||PTS||15||27 August 1956||Maindy Stadium, Cardiff||BBBofC Heavyweight Title.|
|Win||17–2–1||Dick Richardson||PTS||10||7 May 1956||Maindy Stadium, Cardiff|
|Win||17–13–8||Guenter Nurnberg||PTS||10||19 March 1956||Carmarthen Market Hall, Carmarthen|
|Win||33–7–1||Marcel Limage||PTS||10||16 January 1956||Maindy Stadium, Cardiff|
|Win||11–1||Henry Cooper||PTS||10||15 November 1955||Harringay Arena, Harringay, London||BBBofC Heavyweight Title Eliminator.|
|Win||8–11–2||Bernard Verdoolaeghe||TKO||2||10 October 1955||Sophia Gardens, Cardiff|
|Win||9–1||Antonio Crosia||KO||8||13 September 1955||White City Stadium, White City, London|
|Win||17–9–6||Uber Bacilieri||PTS||10||29 August 1955||Maindy Stadium, Cardiff|
|Win||10–3||Henk de Voogd||KO||1||18 July 1955||Maindy Stadium, Cardiff|
|Win||16–19–2||Ansell Adams||PTS||10||9 May 1955||Granby Halls, Leicester, Leicestershire|
|Win||21–22–3||Simon Templar||TKO||8||26 April 1955||Harringay Arena, Harringay, London|
|Win||16–2||Peter Bates||PTS||10||15 March 1955||Embassy Rink, Birmingham, West Midlands|
|Win||8–7||Joe Crickmar||PTS||8||28 February 1955||Granby Halls, Leicester, Leicestershire|
|Win||14–11–1||Cliff Purnell||PTS||8||15 February 1955||Embassy Sportsdrome, Birmingham, West Midlands|
|Win||4–14–3||Hugh McDonald||TKO||6||1 February 1955||Willenhall Drill Hall, Willenhall, West Midlands|
|Win||13–8–1||Cliff Purnell||PTS||8||7 December 1954||Town Hall, Walsall, West Midlands|
|Win||1–2||Jack Walker||KO||1||8 November 1954||Granby Halls, Leicester, Leicestershire|
|Win||12–9||Morrie Bush||PTS||8||11 October 1954||Haverfordwest Market Hall, Haverfordwest|
|Win||4–7||Dennis Lockton||PTS||6||28 September 1954||Olympia Skating Rink, Hanley, Staffordshire|
|Win||18–4||Jimmy Moran||PTS||6||14 September 1954||Sheffield, Yorkshire|
|Win||3–2||Denny Ball||PTS||6||19 July 1954||Ninian Park, Cardiff|
|Win||--||Joe Farley||KO||2||1 June 1954||White City Stadium, White City, London||Novice Tournament.|
|Win||1–0||Eddie Keith||KO||2||1 June 1954||White City Stadium, White City, London||Novice Tournament.|
|Win||2–1||Denny Ball||PTS||3||1 June 1954||White City Stadium, White City, London||Novice Tournament.|
|Win||3–3||Mick Cowan||PTS||6||11 May 1954||Earls Court Arena, Kensington, London|
|Win||7–6–4||Frank Walshaw||PTS||6||1 May 1954||Newtown Drill Hall, Newtown, Powys|
|Draw||5–12–1||Dinny Powell||PTS||6||12 April 1954||Maindy Stadium, Cardiff|
|Win||5–5||Frank Walker||DQ||5||22 March 1954||Embassy Sportsdrome, Birmingham, West Midlands|
|Win||1–0||Tommy Rogers||KO||2||16 March 1954||Willenhall Drill Hall, Willenhall, West Midlands|
|Win||15–8–1||Alf Price||KO||2||9 March 1954||Olympia Skating Rink, Hanley, Staffordshire|
Genealogical and personal information
Joe Erskine was the cousin of the rugby union, and rugby league footballer of the 1950s and 1960s for Cardiff IAC (RU), Wales (RL), and Halifax; Johnny Freeman. Joe later lived in Newport and frequently visited the Riverview club in Pillgwenlly. Joe stayed involved in boxing, and was a big fan of David Pearce.
He was one of many signatories in a letter to The Times on 17 July 1958 opposing 'the policy of apartheid' in international sport and defending 'the principle of racial equality which is embodied in the Declaration of the Olympic Games'.
- Brown, Geoff and Hogsbjerg, Christian. Apartheid is not a Game: Remembering the Stop the Seventy Tour campaign. London: Redwords, 2020. ISBN 9781912926589.