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John Claridge’s Boxers (Round Seven)

December 10, 2012
by the gentle author

Contributing Photographer John Claridge & I joined our boxer pals of the London Ex-Boxers Association for their Christmas shindig at the William Blake in Old St last weekend. John set up a booth in the corner while I searched the crowd to find worthy opponents for him. Starting at eleven in the morning, the day proved to be a raucous celebration amongst lively company yet, at ten in the evening, John was still standing – unbroken and unbowed. And here you see the photographic evidence of his unsurpassed talent in Round Seven of this ongoing series.

Johnnie Anderson (First fight 1950 – Last fight 1956)

Hyman Kern (First fight 1951 – Last fight 1953)

Ron Bebbington (First fight 1938 – Last fight 1950)

Michael Lordan (First fight 1969 – Last fight 1972)

David Power (First fight 1949 – Last fight 1960)

Bob Cheeseman (First fight 1962 – Last fight 1968)

Joe Looker (First fight 1941 –  Last fight 1955)

Dominic Bergonzi (First fight 1971 – Last fight 1984)

Steve Fox (First fight 1977 – Last fight 1979)

Eddie Richardson (First fight 1949 – Last fight 1957)

Fred Harrison (Boxed in the sixties)

Rocky Kelly (First fight 1981 – Last fight 1989)

Photographs copyright © John Claridge

Take a look at

John Claridge’s Boxers (Round One)

John Claridge’s Boxers (Round Two)

John Claridge’s Boxers (Round Three)

John Claridge’s Boxers (Round Four)

John Claridge’s Boxers (Round Five)

John Claridge’s Boxers (Round Six)

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

10 Responses leave one →
  1. December 10, 2012

    What a knockout, how close can you get to a boxer? John seems to have moved in and captured the spirit of the fighters.
    The light is amazing and the feel of these amazing portraits are just what John Claridge is all about, truth and no messing around, John is the most honest photographer around today.

  2. December 10, 2012

    Another great set John,a must for a book

  3. December 10, 2012

    Some of those guys have taken quite a bit of Facial re-adjustment. Powerful pics.

  4. Marien de Goffau permalink
    December 10, 2012

    This series is a special way of telling, a special way of looking, a special style. Great to look at, great stories, great portraits. Special and great photography.

  5. Matt Johnson permalink
    December 10, 2012

    Another great round of shots from John. Can’t wait for the book, which this series surely must become.

  6. December 10, 2012


  7. Lee permalink
    December 11, 2012

    Incredible portraits !


  8. Olga Secerov permalink
    December 12, 2012

    these portraits are all extraordinary. Each one is unique.

  9. john edwards permalink
    December 13, 2012

    Dominic Bergonzi, looks like an Italian Greyhound … fast and quick, the scrolled syllables of his poetic name describe the [gently dented] elegance of his luminous eyed head exactly, as does Rocky Kelly’s name fit the battered features, a face that looks more quarried than sculpted.
    Hope both their mothers loved them and lit candles to illuminate their paths to Mt. Hero.
    Harry Smith [not featured here but I can see & hear dear Harry, what a gentle man] began boxing pro at 12 to 14 years.
    He boxed for ‘Nubbins’ or coins thrown into the ring and did so with success mostly going rounds with his best pal, the exotically named Warley Benn. When the carpet chewer [ Teppenfruescher in German ] Schiklegruber alias Hitler declared war on my 2nd birthday [ still makes me wonder, as I was white-blonde haired ?! ] Harry, newly married to Mary – both of them young and both [ I know ,a pun..] stunners, Harry had been boxing for 11 years or so. He joined the army and, taking his young Mary with him got sent to Catterick where he boxed, and boxed and became Army Heavyweight champ.
    They clamored for him to go pro in 1945 but Harry said – I’m 29 – boxed for 15 years … enough already Harry went on to be the best dockers clerk for Elder Fyffe [ Banana boats ] & Elder Dempster [Argentine meat – notably Fray Bentos corned beef ] He boxed some exhibition bouts, and did have a fight when challenged by a bitter docker that he was favoring the drunks and gamblers for work.
    Harry had to get the walking wounded to work early & gone early to get anything out of them for his employers.
    Harry had to walk the long walk to toe the line & laid the challenger with a bee in his bonnet flat
    in about ten seconds if. The bee’s sure buzzed all round you when Harry ‘Kid Dynamite’ Smith got a straight one on you. Great boxing will always take any street battler apart so fast you wouldn’t see it.
    Harry at one point boxed an ‘exhibition’ bout with Freddy [Dark Satanic ] Mills. Freddy was more brawler than boxer, so Harry had to avoid the haymakers and not use the [wide open] spaces Mills
    exposed to him. After [ I know – pun ] The Brawl was Over – Mills said to Harry … ” The trouble with me Harry is, I just can’t pull my punches. Sorry.” Harry replied “Good job I can then, isn’t it Freddy” Thanks again Johnny for the latest in a long hit parade. Lets hear it for Sandy Saddler, Willy Pep, Peter Waterman …… Warley Benn & Harry ‘Kid Dynamite’ Smith.

  10. December 14, 2012

    Shame JC’s magic lens couldn’t cloaked them all in festive Santa gear . . . might have made them seem less ferocious, even in their mellower years!

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