Big news in New Zealand boxing

Sideline Sid
Sports correspondent & historian

The big news in New Zealand boxing in the New Year is the agreement of the parties involved with Joseph Parker and Hughie Fury.

The arguement is for their boxers to meet (somewhere in the world) for the WBO version of the World Heavyweight title in 2017.

With the two respective promoters not reaching agreement on terms, the bout went to a purse bid, where the highest bidder won the right to call the shots.

While the Parker camp won the purse bid, that doesn't guarantee a title fight in New Zealand, as they will take the fight to wherever they can make the most money.

It was nice to see Joseph recognised at the Halberg Awards with a nomination for Sportsman of the Year.

Just one boxer has won the supreme award since the Sportsman of the Year was started in 1949.

A small piece of useless information tells us, that the Sportsman of the Year was started in 1949 by Jack Fairburn who published the New Zealand Sportsman magazine. First published in 1947, the New Zealand Sportsman was the first magazine in the country entirely devoted to sport. 

In the late 1940s and 1950s, the Sportsman monthly publication was a must have for the sports fans in the country.

An innovative feature was the colour front-page, when colour photography was in its infancy.

The first winner of the New Zealand Sportsman of the Year was cricket player Burt Sutcliffe.

The following year, Yvette Williams became the first woman to win the Sportsman of the Year trophy.

Yvette subsequently won again in 1952 after winning the Olympic long jump title.

The only boxer to win the New Zealand Sportsman of the Year was Barry Brown in 1953.

Brown, who started his fistic career in Dannevirke, was trained by father Reg and had much success in amateur ranks, before becoming a household name when he turned professional. 

New Zealand Flyweight and Light Welterweight amateur titles were won, before outstanding success in the professional ranks.

Another piece of useless information that this writer unearthed preparing this piece, is that in 1950, Barry Brown won the Australian Catholic Youth Light Welterweight title.

The Mount Everest of Barry Brown's professional career was taking the British Empire Welterweight title from South African Gerald Dreyer in Wellington in 1954.

In those long ago days, a British Empire crown ranked second only to a World Title. 

Brown and Dreyer went to battle in the countries first Empire title fight at the Basin Reserve in Wellington on January 15, 1954.

To thunderous applause from the parochial home-town crowd, referee Phin Stone stopped the contest in round seven in favour of the kiwi boxer.

On the local boxing scene, Coach Chris Walker and his team at the Tauranga Boxing Gym are preparing for a busy boxing year.

The three pro's in the gym in Gunnar Jackson and the Taylor brothers of Anthony and Jonathan, are all back in training. Gunnar "The Stunna" Jackson is the first out of the blocks with a fight in April against a Fijian journeyman. 

Walker has his biggest amateur team for a number of years and is targeting the National Championships and Golden Gloves, for further glory for the Tauranga Boxing Club.

Another highlight on the agenda is the Queensland Golden Gloves in Brisbane.

The Queensland Golden Gloves has the distinction of being the biggest boxing tournament over the ditch with two rings in continuous action during the four-day tournament.



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