Mickey Duff

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Mickey Duff
Real nameMonek Prager
Nickname(s)Mickey Duff
Adopted as legal name
Born(1929-06-07)June 7, 1929
Kraków, Poland
DiedMarch 22, 2014(2014-03-22) (aged 84)
South London
Boxing record
Total fights45
Wins by KO4

Mickey Duff (7 June 1929 – 22 March 2014), was a Polish-born British boxer, matchmaker, manager and promoter.[1][2][3][4]

Early life[edit]

Duff was born Monek Prager to a Jewish family in Kraków, Poland on 7 June 1929. His father, a rabbi, helped the family flee the Nazis, and emigrate to England in the late 1930s. [5]

Career in boxing[edit]

Four year career as boxer[edit]

Duff became a professional boxer against regulations at only fifteen, and boxed for four years. According to Mickey, he chose the name Duff from the character, "Jackie-Boy Duffy" from the movie Cash and Carry, though the character actually came from the 1941 boxing movie, Ringside Maisie. The ring name hid his boxing career from his disapproving father, with whom he would have a strained relationship for life, though for other reasons.[6][7] Starting his career after WWII, from September, 1945, to May, 1946, Duff fought fourteen bouts in the greater London area, winning twelve, with only one loss and one draw. He eventually achieved a 75 % winning boxing record in a career that included around fifty fights, but lost his last professional bout on December 7, 1948, against Scottish boxer Neil McCearn, in West Ham, in an eight round points decision. BoxRec, the online boxing record site, lists forty-six of his better publicized bouts.[3]

Achievements as boxing promoter, match maker, and manager[edit]

After briefly working selling sewing machines, Duff returned to boxing to make matches across the UK. In the late 1950s Jack Solomons was England's greatest boxing promoter. As Solomons's ironclad control of British boxing waned, a new team began to form with Duff as match maker, Jarvis Astaire as manager, and friend and mentor Harry Levene, as promoter.[4] He also had as partners Terry Lawless, Mike Barrett, and the British Broadcasting Company (BBC).[8] One publication described Duff and his partners's ascendancy in the boxing world, as "an efficient cartel which broke one monopoly and established another."[9] Duff become vastly more famous as a manager, matchmaker, and promoter than he was as a London area boxer. His participation and strong position in the sport as a promoter and matchmaker would extend over four decades from 1953 through 1997.[10]

Top boxers in his stable[edit]

During his strong position as a promoter and manager, he was involved with at least 16 world champions and many leading British fighters, including:

The clout and connections that Duff could bring to bear from his media contacts, wealth, and professional associations could fast channel a competitors rise to a championship bout. Duff's participation and then dominant place in British boxing lasted through the sixty's, seventies, and most of the eighties.

Widely credited media roles[edit]

Duff became widely known in the media, particularly for the awards he received for his work on HBO Boxing (1973), ESPN Top Rank Boxing (1980), and as a consultant with the movie Triumph of the Spirit (1990). ESPN and HBO, however, would not remain the exclusive, or dominant line to the world and British boxing market.

Frank Warren's rise and Duff's fall from prominence[edit]

By the 1990s, Duff's primary competitor, promoter Frank Warren, had seventy-five boxers in his stable, and could be described accurately by London's Observer as "the only show in town". Equally significant was Warren's 50,000,000 pound deal with Britain's largest pay tv network, Sky TV, British commercial television network, ITV and his direct line to the American TV market through promoter Don King. Duff, who was once the major player in London, saw three of his top fighters, Frank Bruno, Joe Calzaghe, and Henry Akinwande leave him for more profitable deals with Warren, sapping both Duff's financial position and market share. [12] Eventually giving in to diminishing health, loss of his boxing stable, and Frank Warren's dominance through his partnership with ITV and Sky TV, Duff retired.

International Boxing Hall of Fame inductee

Life outside boxing and death in 2014[edit]

He had one child with wife Marie, with whom he remained on good terms after they separated.[5]

After suffering from Alzheimer's disease, Duff died at a nursing home in South London on 22 March 2014 from natural causes at the age of 84. He was inducted into the International Boxing Hall of Fame in 1999.[13][14][15]


  1. ^ "Punch Drunk". New Statesman. 24 January 2000.
  2. ^ Press Association. "Boxing world pays tribute to promoter Mickey Duff who has died aged 84 | Sport | The Observer". Theguardian.com. Retrieved 22 March 2014.
  3. ^ a b "Mickey Duff BoxRec Record". BoxRec. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  4. ^ a b "Mickey Duff BoxRec Bio". BoxRec. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  5. ^ a b "Mickey Duff IMDB Biography". IMDB. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  6. ^ Alan Hubbard (20 June 1999). "Interview: Mickey Duff - Missing link in a haul of fame". The Independent. London, UK.
  7. ^ Got his name from a boxing movie in "Square Ring Turns Full Circle", The Observer, London, England, pg. 53, 8 December 1996
  8. ^ "Square Ring Turns Full Circle", The Observer, London, England, pg. 53, 8 December 1996
  9. ^ Alan Hubbard (20 June 1999). "Interview: Mickey Duff - Missing link in a haul of fame". The Independent. London, UK.
  10. ^ "Mickey Duff BoxRec Promoter record"". BoxRec. Retrieved 7 March 2018.
  11. ^ Brian Viner (1 December 1999). "Duff still boxing clever into retirement". The Independent. London, UK.
  12. ^ "Square Ring Turns Full Circle", The Observer, London, England, pg. 53, 8 December 1996
  13. ^ "Former boxing promoter Mickey Duff dies, aged 84". The Independent. 22 March 2014.
  14. ^ Notice of death of Mickey Duff, bbc.co.uk; accessed 22 March 2014.
  15. ^ "Sports Shorts", Arizona Daily Star, Tucson, Arizona, pg. B010, 24 March 2014


External links[edit]