Terry Downes

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Terry Downes
Real name Terry Downes
Nickname(s) Paddington Express
Rated at Middleweight
Height 5 ft 9 in (175 cm)
Reach 69 in (175 cm)
Nationality British
Born (1936-05-09) 9 May 1936 (age 80)
Paddington, London, United Kingdom
Stance Orthodox
Boxing record
Total fights 49
Wins 35
Wins by KO 28
Losses 9
Draws 0

Terry Downes BEM [1] (born 9 May 1936) is a retired British middleweight boxer,[2] and occasional film actor. He was nicknamed the "Paddington Express" for his aggressive fighting style.[3] As of 2008, Downes was Britain’s oldest surviving former world champion.[4] He held the world middleweight title for ten months from 1961 to 1962.[5]

Career highlights[edit]

Downes was born in Paddington, London. Despite a relatively short boxing career, Downes managed to accomplish a great deal in the sport, most notably by winning the World Middleweight Title on 11 July 1961 by defeating Paul Pender at the Empire Pool, Wembley, England.[6]

After an inauspicious first fifteen months in the profession, comprising 16 wins and 3 defeats, Downes won the British Middleweight Title, vacated by Pat McAteer's retirement, by beating Phil Edwards on 30 September 1958 at the Harringay Arena, London. In the autumn of 1959, Downes went on to lose and then win back the title from John 'Cowboy' McCormack. On 5 July 1960, Downes successfully defended the title against Edwards once more.[6]

Downes lost his first World Title shot with Paul Pender at Boston in January 1961. The following summer, however, Downes fought Pender again, this time in London, and defeated the American convincingly in front of a raucous Wembley crowd.[7] Pender would win back the title the following year, defeating Downes in Boston once more, this time on points.[6]

Downes responded to the loss of his title by winning his next 7 bouts, and having felt he had accomplished all he could at middleweight, he moved up to fight Willie Pastrano for the World Light-Heavyweight Title in Manchester, England on 30 November 1964. Downes was knocked down twice in the 11th round and Pastrano retained his title – it was to be Downes' last fight.[4]

One of the most impressive scalps of Downes' 8-year career was that of Sugar Ray Robinson in the autumn of 1962. Robinson was, however, 41 at the time, and when asked after the fight how it felt to beat a boxer of such esteem, Downes famously replied, "I didn't beat Sugar Ray, I beat his ghost."[8]

Downes was famous for a number of quips. After a particularly brutal fight early in his career against Dick Tiger, Downes was asked who he wanted to fight next. He replied, "The bastard who made this match," in reference to his manager at the time, Mickey Duff.[9]

Downes fought six world champions and beat three: Robinson, Pender and Joey Giardello. His record was: 44 fights, 35 wins (28 KOs), 9 losses.[6]

Life outside the ring[edit]

Moving with his parents to the United States as a teenager Downes served in the US Marine Corps[10] from 1954 to 1956. It was in the marines that he got his first experience in the ring, winning several amateur trophies. After his term of service, he returned to London and turned professional.[3][9]

Post-boxing, Downes acted occasionally between 1965 and 1990, usually appearing a thug, villain or bodyguard. One of his more prominent roles was in Roman Polanski's 1967 film The Fearless Vampire Killers, in which he played Koukol, a hunchbacked servant.[11] His other film credits included appearances in A Study in Terror (1965), Five Ashore in Singapore (1967), The Golden Lady (1979), If You Go Down in the Woods Today (1981), and the Derek Jarman film Caravaggio (1986).

Downes and his wife Barbara have been married since 1958.[12] They have four children and eight grandchildren.[4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Birthday honours Direct.gov
  2. ^ "Terry Downes". Cyber Boxing Zone. 1936-05-09. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  3. ^ a b DEANE McGOWEN Special to The New York Times. (1961-01-14). "Pender Favored to Retain Middleweight Title in Fight With Downes Tonight - RIVALS HELD FIT FOR BOSTON BOUT Pender 8-5 Choice to Beat Challenger in 15-Rounder but Briton Is Confident - Article - NYTimes.com". Select.nytimes.com. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  4. ^ a b c http://www.boxingnewsonline.net/BN08/detail.asp?id=257
  5. ^ "The Lineal Middleweight Champions". The Cyber Boxing Zone Encyclopedia. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Terry Downes - Boxer". Boxrec.com. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  7. ^ "Paul Pender: The Middleweight Champion Time Forgot". Eastsideboxing.com. Archived from the original on 11 August 2012. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  8. ^ The Independent. London http://www.independent.co.uk/sport/general/boxing-danny-wins-a-battle-of-the-mind-555168.html.  Missing or empty |title= (help)[dead link]
  9. ^ a b "Tiger fight night memories prompt tears in Truro « Sports Journalists' Association". Sportsjournalists.co.uk. 2009-10-03. Retrieved 2012-08-13. 
  10. ^ http://www.boxing.com/downes_the_english_u.s._marine.html
  11. ^ http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0235964/
  12. ^ "Sugar Ray to Defend Title". The Age, 23 December 1958.
Preceded by
Paul Pender
World Middleweight Champion
July 11, 1961 – April 7, 1962
Succeeded by
Paul Pender

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See also[edit]