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John Claridge’s Boxers (Round Two)

October 23, 2012
by the gentle author

Photographer and Ex-Boxer John Claridge took on members of London Ex-Boxers Association on a recent visit to the East End. John distinguished himself  with some fine shots in Round One and now, after a quick rub down with a towel and a hasty gulp of water, he is back in the ring with an intensified energy for Round Two.

Brian Hudson (First fight 1956 – last fight 1967)

Stan Kennedy (First fight 1961 – last fight 1966)

James Cook MBE (First fight 1982 – last fight 1994)

Terry Austin (Boxing fan)

Bernie Khan (Boxed in the sixties)

Mickey Oats (First fight 1969 – last fight 1972)

Mick Hayes (First fight 1945 – last fight 1958)

Roby Cameron (First fight 1948 – last fight 1956)

George Day (First fight 1942 – last fight 1951)

John Smallwood (First fight 1934 – last fight 1949)

Colin Hayday (First fight 1955 – last fight 1959)

John O’Callaghan (First fight 1942 – last fight 1957)

Photographs copyright © John Claridge

Take a look at

John Claridge’s Boxers (Round One)

and these other pictures by John Claridge

John Claridge’s East End

Along the Thames with John Claridge

At the Salvation Army with John Claridge

In a Lonely Place

A Few Diversions by John Claridge

This was my Landscape

John Claridge’s Spent Moments

Signs, Posters, Typography & Graphics

Working People & a Dog

Invasion of the Monoliths

Time Out with John Claridge

Views from a Dinghy by John Claridge

People on the Street & a Cat

In Another World with John Claridge

A Few Pints with John Claridge

A Nation Of Shopkeepers

Some East End Portraits by John Claridge

Sunday Morning Stroll with John Claridge

John Claridge’s Cafe Society

Graphics & Graffiti

Just Another Day With John Claridge

At the Salvation Army in Eighties

18 Responses leave one →
  1. Lee permalink
    October 23, 2012

    These are very clearly remarkable historical portraits.

    Thank you.


  2. Terry Holben permalink
    October 23, 2012

    Truly amazing portraits, John.

    They seem to look deep into the souls of these ex boxers.

    I seem to remember Sammy McCarthy in particular


  3. October 23, 2012

    Brilliant portraits John, Powerful images. Love them all. Round 1 & 2. G

  4. Graham Ford permalink
    October 23, 2012

    very strong images

  5. October 23, 2012

    They are fantastic images and really are historic and should be preserved somehow.
    I think the so called “hip photographers” should look at how to do real portrait photography.
    Looking forward to seeing more of your images.

  6. October 23, 2012

    Stunning portraits combined with such a significant historical document.

  7. Chris F permalink
    October 23, 2012

    Everything that the others have said… Brilliant… These characters would add another level of reality to any Bond film. I bet these boys could tell a few tales… Maybe an idea for a future post?

  8. John in Paris. permalink
    October 23, 2012

    Not so sure about the gulp of water between rounds- not at all JC….but the images are pure JC.

  9. October 23, 2012

    Up close and personal, WOW.
    Some faces tells a thousand stories, and I am still reading, this series really is the signature of John Claridge, there’s a trust and a understanding, one might even say admiration that needs to be present to allow a photographer this close to his subject and that’s when real portraiture happens in my opinion, and Mr John is the master of such portraiture, wonderful to see and so very real.
    Cheers John for showing them and please don’t stop here, I would love to see more.


  10. October 23, 2012

    As always, John’s portraits are full of character and humanity. Love them

  11. Adrian Taylor permalink
    October 23, 2012

    G’day John and Janet,

    One can only guess at the career trajectories of the boxers from the dates of their first and last fights.
    John Smallwood (First fight 1934 – last fight 1949) Wow! one tough bloke.

  12. Alice permalink
    October 24, 2012

    Round 2 is just as exciting as round 1 was! Thank you to John and the boxers for such a fantastic set of portraits. Will we be seeing the full 12 rounds? I completely agree with one of the other commentors, John’s affinity with his sitters or subjects is like no other and adds a personal dimension to his images that is lacking in so many others.

    Round 3?

  13. October 24, 2012

    They are wonderful John – such strength and emotion – all the history etched on each of those amazing faces

  14. October 25, 2012

    Only Round 2?! . . . 8 to go?! . . . what on earth can we expect from the remaining rounds?!
    . . . only JC’s perceptive lens can possibly reveal!!!

  15. Andrew Elliot permalink
    October 27, 2012

    Fantastic. What I like is the time … not just the way time’s changed them physically – but the way that you’ve looked and looked until you’ve sen something. I don’t know whether you spent a lot of time with them or not – but you spent the right amount of time. I can see that you’ve almost sculpted their heads – pulled them out of the ordinary – made those boys into heroic/tragic mythical figures.
    I do think photography has to be about seeing first of all – not equipment, not technique but just seeing: looking and seeing – until the picture virtually offers itself to you. And after seeing … you’ve got to care. Taking the pictures has reminded those elderly men of how special they are. You’ve given something back to them – and I think that’s honourable, maybe even essential. I’ve to think that all art must have something of the artist – something living – buried within it: something that can be re-dsicovered over the years.
    Take care!

  16. Marien de Goffau permalink
    November 1, 2012

    Wonderful series. A life portrayed in each picture.

  17. Olga Secerov permalink
    November 1, 2012

    very powerful portraits. totally absorbed by them.

  18. john edwards permalink
    November 27, 2012

    1958 thru 1965 – As students we’d frequent the best salt beef bar in town, that being on Great Windmill St W1. It was in a strip of three salt beef places, Phil Rabin’s, The Nosh Bar & …….. The Best : Carroll’s
    …By many a mile. The rooms were all about 20 x 15 foot if, and all Jewish of course.
    Carrol’s had pristine leatherette bar stools, shining narrow zinc & formica counters, wall panels, mirrors and numerous signed photo’s of boxing champs in their prime – Kid Lewis, Randolph Turpin,
    Archie Moore, Louis, Ezzard Charles, Rinty Monaghan , Jersey Joe, Cerdan, Terry Downes, Sugar Ray, who started an orphan/youth school in L.A. & was, sadly, a wreck when I met him there.Dado Marino
    Ingemar Johanson, Floyd Patterson, Freddie Mills … [There’s a tale ] – many others, Then there was
    old ‘Chicago’ a rock fisted craggy American black man who occupied the far corner stool ‘above the salt’ just north of the absinthe dispenser in Gaston’s ‘ French’ Pub. In his late 60’s Chicago was still formidable, a punch drunk giant – Soho was rocking & we were so lucky to catch it …… & to end this part – about salt beef & boxers I can still see, taste, Carroll’s salt beef as it rose into view from the basement on the wooden dumb waiter, pink & quivering, sweating juice and light steam – just like Don Cockell after round one with Joe Baksi – sliced, put between caraway rye bread slathered with beetroot horseradish, touch of mustard, glass of lemon tea in the epns holder…….. Heaven on a platter! Knockout!! TKO …… Never equaled – Not even close …. More of that world in Round Six.
    Got your juices going Johnny? Oh! Yes……

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